• Thathe Msimango

Sekhonyana joins Hollywoodbets Athletics Club

Updated: Jan 29

Hollywoodbets Athletics Club continue to make huge strides in the 2021 transfer market. After luring Namakoe Khasi to join the club roughly a fortnight ago, they have secured the signature of yet another top runner. The announcement of ultra marathon ace Mahlomola Sekhonyana, who was part of Phantane Athletics Club for the past two years, as the newest addition to the exciting team indicates bigger ambitions the year ahead.

The club already boasts a talented pool of ultramarathon specialists including Thobile Mbolekwa (former African 50k Champion) and 2-time Comrades Marathon gold medalist Prodigal Kumalo. Sehkonyana who took fourth-place at the 2019 Comrades is ecstatic to finally join Hollywoodbets and is already looking forward to the new journey. He praised his coach Mdu Khumalo for his mature approach to a move that solidifies their 3-year relationship.


Sekhonyana kneels down to pray after taking fourth place at the 2019 Comrades Marathon. Photo Credit: Tlotliso Choopho.

" I'm happy that I have joined Hollywoodbets in the end," says Sekhonyana. "It wasn't an easy decision for me since Phantane is like my home to me. But coach Mdu managed to sit down with me to give me some advice and gave me his blessing. Hollywoodbets have been looking to sign me for quite some time and I won't struggle to adapt since a lot of my training partners are already with the club. I can't wait to achieve good things with the club," he said.


The 34-year-old man from the Free State reveals that other top clubs were also in the race for his signature but he opted for the betting company because he believes that the club offers him better long-term prospects.


Sekhonyana enjoys a rack race in Durban in 2019. Photo Credit: Mahlomola Sekhonyana.

" Hollywoodbets wasn't only club looking to sign me," he explains. " Mr. Price wanted me to come back since I ran under them in 2018 before joining Phantane in 2019. But I believe I made a very wise decision to join Hollywoodbets. I trust the advice that coach Mdu gives me and he influenced me to take this decision. He is like a father to me ," Sekhonyana shared.

Khumalo couldn't hide the excitement of seeing his club Phantane continuing to serve its purpose of producing of grooming top runners for the professional clubs. He says it would have been unfair of him to hold on to an athlete when a good opportunity presented itself.


Coach Mdu Khumalo takes charge of a training session. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

" Look, when I started this club (Phantane) in 2013 our goal was to breed new talent for the recognized clubs. I mentor most of the athletes here and I try to find them professional contracts. At the end of the day, talent must be useful to them. As such, they must see benefits. I'm happy for him that he is finally getting recognition. What I love most is that most of the athletes under Hollywoodbets are trained by me. So he is still under my guidance and I won't take his move as a loss," said Khumalo.

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