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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

More money for 2023 Grand Prix as SPAR pull out all the stops for women's running in SA

For the athletics purists Tadu Nare's dominance in the 2022 SPAR Grand Prix was a marvel to watch. Traveling up and down from the horn of Africa to run the six races in the 10km series, the Ethiopian was beaten just once while running a scorching 31:50 to win the Durban leg in June as she pocket over R300 000 in prize money for her efforts. The highest placed South African was Kesa Molotsane who took fourth place overall behind Ethiopia's Selam Gebre in second and Namibia's Helalila Johannes in third. And while the nationalists may be ready to throw in the towel and ban foreign athletes from competing, Molotsane is calling for cool heads saying international athletes are good for the development of the sport.

Tadu Nare dominated the 2022 SPAR Grand Prix to defend her title. Photo Credit: Reg Caldecott.

"We have improved so much - we have so many ladies running under 33 minutes. It also gives us an opportunity to improve from race to race. We didn’t really have this kind of standard of road running for women before SPAR. If we are looking for an international label event in the future then our international sisters have to be part of it. We do appreciate their presence because the standard of road running has improved in SA because of them," said the Murray and Roberts Athlete who also represents local athletes on the Athletics South Africa.

Yet as encouraging as the performances of Molotsane and Boxer Athletic Club's Cacisile Sosibo (fifth overall) were this year, that the last South African to wear the overall Grand Prix crown was Glenrose Xaba back in 2018 is cause for concern. SPAR share this concern and so have decided to add some motivation for the 2023 series.

SPAR's Charlene Subbarayan says they will be increasing the prize money in 2023 in order to motivate South African runners in particular. Photo Credit: Willem Botha.

Next year the first South African in the overall series will win an additional R100 000, while the first local in each individual race will earn an extra R10 000, that is over and above the R200 000 that will be on offer for the series winner regardless of nationality. SPAR Group Events and Sponsorship Manager Charlene Subbarayan says their goal is to work together with Athletics South Africa to improve the standard of women's running in the country.

"We are going bigger and better next year with the aim of getting 120 000 ladies across our six cities to participate in our races and ASA President Mr. James Moloi will be happy that we are also going to increase our prize money. SPAR and other corporates need to work with ASA to do something for South African athletes to help them do better. We wanna reach grassroots level and those up and coming athletes as well. We want to give new talent an opportunity to rise as well," she explained.

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