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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Xaba applauds as SPAR GRAND PRIX confirms Mpumalanga race in July

Multiple South African track and road running champion Glenrose Xaba is pleased to see that Mpumalanga has been added to the SPAR GRAND PRIX this year. This after the big news was announced during the official launch of this year's event in Cape Town on last night. The Mpumalanga race replaces the Pietermaritzburg event in the six legs that form the overall 10km GRAND PRIX series. Xaba who hails from Mpumalanga having started running there before moving to Pretoria to further her career, is happy that the province of her birth is now represented in the most successful women’s-specific 10km series in the country.

"I'm so happy to see Mpumalanga province being added to this year's SPAR GRAND PRIX. It is such big news for the athletes from the province,” said the woman who won the 2018 Spar Grand Prix title and then finished joint third Zimbabwean, Fortunate Chidzivo last year. The Mpumalanga race will take place in Mbombela on the 16th of July as the third race of a six-legged series which kicks off in Gqberha on the 28th of May and ends in Cape Town on the 23rd of October.

Mpumalanga-born Glenrose Xaba is happy that the SPAR GRAND PRIX will make it's first ever stop in Mbombela this year. Photo Credit: Reg Caldecott.

" The athletes from there don't even get to run these big races like Spar because of limited resources due to financial constraints. So for Spar to consider them is the big news for them. Of course, I'm excited because I understand the challenges these athletes are facing since I come from the province. In our province, the development is good but once an athlete turns out to be a senior, then support is lacking. Let's hope this will be a chance for them to showcase their talent,” she explained.

The good news for the Mpumalanga-based runners is that they will have the opportunity to earn good prize money. SPAR confirmed that the prize money has been increased to R170 000 for each race, with the winner receiving R30 000. Entries for each race will be restricted to 500 runners, who will compete in the Open, Junior, 40-49, 50-59 and 60+ categories. In addition, for the first time since 2019, points will also be awarded to runners who achieve excellent times. Because of the fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation, SPAR have restricted each of the six races to 500 invited athletes. Xaba is looking to use the races as part of her preparation to represent the country in Birmingham.

Tadu Nare (Nedbank) from Ethiopia who is the defending SPAR Grand Prix champion has confirmed her intention to defend her title in the 2022 SPAR Grand Prix series. Photo Credit: Reg Caldecott

After smashing her personal best to win yet another SA 10 000m title at the nationals in April, the 27-year-old Boxer Athletics Club athlete has set her sights on the Commonwealth games later this year. " My focus this year is qualifying for the Commonwealth games. I believe I stand a good chance of being named in the team and doing well there,” said the reigning SA 21km Champion.

" With Commonwealth, countries they don't bring a strong team to compete so it bit easy, unlike World Championship. The primary focus remains the 10 000m. That is the distance that I want to qualify with. Whenever I'm doing 5 000m, it is for speed only. Then 10 000m helps me a lot to build for 21km,” she concluded.

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