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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'It was so exciting!' - Mosiako opens track season with new 5000m PB at EPA League Meeting

With 2023 behind us and an Olympic year upon us, the 2024 track and field season takes on greater significance. Many of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia's top athletes will be looking to the local track and field meets to secure that elusive Olympic qualification. Where the middle distance events are concerned, the sea level meets are even more important because they present real opportunity for athletes to secure an Olympic birth. One such athlete is Thabang Mosiako.

The Nedbank Running Club star enjoyed a fantastic 2023 season during which he surged to second place on the SA All-Time Half Marathon list thanks to a 59:52 clocking for sixth place at the World Half Marathon Championships. With #Paris2024 on the horizon, the 2017 SA 5000m champion could look to twelve and a half laps of the track for his Olympic debut. If that is the case then he is on the right track after opening his season with a new lifetime best at the first Eastern Province Athletics (EPA) League Meeting of the year which took place at the Nelson Mandela University Stadium on Saturday, 20 January 2024.

Mosiako on his way to a new 5000m lifetime best. Photo Credit: TaniaZ Photography.

"It was so exciting! A new season, new year, and the first Track & Field event of 2024. I can say I ran my PB because I ran 13.58 in 2022 and now I ran 13.37! I’ve never run such a good time in my life, this is huge for me," he said moments after winning the 5000m event ahead of training partners Melikhaya Frans (14:14) and Simon Sibeko (14:19), as new recruit to the Ikhamva Athletic Club Nicholas Seoposengwe claimed fourth in 14:26.

Mosiako says such a good performance in his opening track race of the year is a good omen for what lies ahead. "This race is showing me how great my year will be. I expect more this year than last year. I must just keep focused on my training and preparation and work hard, as we have a very busy year. I’m excited and so happy about my start of the year," said an upbeat Mosiako.

Ikhamva top runners dominate the 5000m at the first EPA Track & Field League Meeting of 2024. Photo Credit: Ikhamva AC.

His coach and founder of Ikhamva Athletic Club Michael Mbambani was equally thrilled saying that his main job is to try and keep the reigning SA Half Marathon champion free of injury and the rest will fall into place. "Thabang is showing serious consistency, he is at his peak now and I just wish him an injury free year."

Riaan Barnard, EPA Track & Field Chairperson, was thrilled with the turnout of the athletes, clubs and spectators at the first NMB Track and Fiels Series Meet of the year. "We are extremely proud of our athletes. My dream for this season is to develop our athletes to their highest standard to compete on a national level and to bring home more medals. This weekend marked the start of our high school, senior and master athletes first league. All our local athletes are working extremely hard to qualify for the National Championships."

The next two competitions will be held on Saturday, February 3, at the Westbourne Oval and on February 10, at NMU Madibaz Stadium.

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