Xolani Mabhida identifies future champions & polishes top runners at successful December training camp
Following nearly three weeks of a December training camp during which he put various runners through their paces, renowned South African athletics coach Xolani Mabhida believes things went according to plan. From the 11th to the 28th of December, a total of thirty athletes from across the country and neighbouring Southern African countries like Botswana and Lesotho assembled in the city of Pietermaritzburg to prepare for the 2024 season at the MCS Get Fit December Training Camp.
Mabhida, who is widely known for guiding Bongumusa Mthembu to three Comrades Marathon titles, had his camp attended by both track and road runners, including top performers like Bongelani Mkhwanazi and Sibusiso Kubheka. "Firstly in terms of the support, the camp turnout was pretty good. I must say that it has met its goals," he told #TheTopRunner on the last day of the training camp.
"The goals of having this training camp were simple; to scout the talent; unearth the talent; and train the elite group," explains Mabhida, who hails from Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. "My target was to load the athletes to produce better results for the next season while grooming young athletes with the same aim of producing good results. I believe that the athletes learned so much from it even though we nearly canceled it for various reasons," he shared.
As part of the scouting process, Mabhida revealed that there are a couple of talented athletes that he identified during the camp, who will be polished and shaped to excel in the future. Mabhida is celebrated for having worked with a number of top athletes during the formative years, including the likes of Two Oceans and Comrades Marathon gold medalist Nkosikhona Mhlakwana, who developed under Mabhida's guidance when he was still an 800m athlete.
"Out of the thirty athletes that attended our camp, we managed to find one athlete from Botswana, whom I believe has serious potential in the 1500m event. Then there is another athlete from the Eastern Cape specializing in the Ultra-marathon distance. The other three athletes were Thando Ndlovu from Port Shepstone, Amahle Magubane from Richmond, and Mhlekazi Ndlela from Impendle. I believe these athletes are talented enough in different distances and surely will produce the results in the future. The next step now is to give them proper coaching and guide them to success," he said.