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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

The aim is to unearth future champions - Mdu Khumalo on Phantane December Training Camp

Updated: Dec 27, 2021

Phantane Athletics Club founder Mdu Khumalo says the reason he decided to host December Training Camp is to assist and develop future champions. Since the 13th of December, athletes have flocked to Indwendwe, a village 60km north of Durban to take part in a camp that ends on the 23rd of December. Speaking to #TheTopRunner Khumalo expressed his excitement on how the athletes have managed to stick to the program from the beginning. He is hopeful that this camp and others like it will grow athletics in the country.

Mathanga leads them out during one of the many training sessions held during the 21-day training camp in Indwendwe. Photo Credit: Mdu Khumalo.

"I'm excited with the training camp. The positive attitude that has been shown by athletes since the start makes me look forward to the next day," said Khumalo, who coaches reigning SA 10 000m Champion Mbuleli Mathanga. He also revealed that the aim of the exercise was to identify and guide talented young athletes, while improving their running technique in order to be shape them for the future.

"Our main focus was to assist youngsters and sharpen them for the future. They still have a long way to go into their career so we must take care of them. Through these are camps we wish to produce future champions and teach athletes to unite," he shared.

The Phantane AC gym in Indwendwe as made possible by Hollywoodbets. Photo Credit: Mdu Khumalo.

Although the main focus was on up and coming runners, prominent athletes like Mathanga, who is also the SA 10km Cross Country Champion, Sipho Mbanjwa and Bonginkosi Zwane took part in the camp. Khumalo says he invited these senior athletes to motivate youngsters by sharing pointers on how they achieved success in 2021.

"The reason I bought Mathanga, in particular, was to motivate the kids since they look up to him," he explained. "What he has achieved this year is every athlete's dream. So to be around these youngsters is inspiring. You must be able to use someone they know as the example when talking to them. And there is no better athlete than him."

Khumalo also thanked Hollywoodbets for their support. His training base in Indwendwe is supported by the betting company who donated gym equipment, while also employing some of the athletes developed by Khumalo. "The relationship we have with Holywoodbets is a very good one. There is a lot of rain in Indwendwe, so thanks to their support my athletes can now use the gym on days when it's too rainy to run. Also, Sipho Mbanjwa got an opportunity to run for their club while working for the company which is good. I hope our relationship continues," he concluded.

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