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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Melikhaya Frans to run Copenhagen Marathon in May as he tries to qualify for Olympics

Eastern Cape long distance runner Melikhaya Frans has become the latest South African to secure an invitation to an overseas race in his quest to be included in the Olympic marathon squad. This comes after Precious Mashele, Gerda Steyn and Irvette Van Zyl also recently got invited to run in Hamburg next month. Frans will take part in the famously fast and flat Copenhagen Marathon in Denmark on May 16.

The man from Uitenhage in action in a local race in the Eastern Cape in 2019. Photo Credit: Richard Pearce Photography.

The news was confirmed by Newton Sports Agency athlete representative Bradley Agnew, over a telephone call. "Yeah. Frans has been confirmed for the Copenhagen Marathon happening in May," Agnew revealed. "In fact, he was confirmed in two events which are Dresden in Germany and Copenhagen. But we opted for Copenhagen because Dresden is happening in March so it's the short notice," he told #TheTopRunner.

The 31-year-old athlete is still excited about the news that he is going to race in Europe. He believes he is in good shape to do well on race day and is hoping for good weather. "I'm excited that I'm going to Denmark. I know that May in Denmark will be spring, not winter so that's good news for me. My level of fitness is coming along very well as I have started running local track races. I was waiting for this opportunity to come because this year it's the Olympic games," explains Frans. The premiere multi-discipline sports event on planet earth takes place in Tokyo in July having been rescheduled from 2020 because of Covid-19.

Frans (right) poses for a photo with Stephen Mokoka (centre) and Elroy Gelant (left) after finishing on the podium at the 2017 SA Half Marathon Championships. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

The South African 30km record holder (1:30:54) holds a personal best of 2:13:50 over the marathon distance achieved during last year's London Marathon where he finished 21st. But to be on the plane to Japan, he must run 2:11:30 which is something he is optimistic about doing. "I would be happy if I can be on the starting line up for the Olympic games," he shared. "But at the same time my dream is for my country to send a very strong team that would guarantee us a team medal. I want to be run sub 2:09 that would be good but the first priority is to go and win the race and the rest will follow."

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