Kgosi best for Team SA | SASCOC - SASCOC

Kgosi best for Team SA

By Mark Etheridge

It was business as usual for the all-conquering Kenyan teams at Sunday’s African Cross-Country Championships at Rondebosch, Cape Town.

As has become customary down the years the East African nation dominated from start to finish, winning all four individual titles on offer as well as the team categories.

The senior men’s title went to John Mwangangi who covered the 12-kilometre circuit through Keurboom Park in 35min 31sec. He was followed by four of his team-mates as they swept to a comfortable victory over the six laps of 2km.

In the senior women’s 8km race Mercy Cherono clocked 27:13 to outsprint her teammate Viola Kibiwot with both being credited with the same time.

South Africa’s best finisher in the senior men’s race was Kgosi Tsosane in fifth spot, exactly a minute behind the winner.

“It was real tough out there today,” said the 24-year-old Bothaville athlete, who normally runs in the colours of Gauteng North.

“We wanted to try and dominate the race from the start because we’re running on home soil. But these Kenyans are something else and it was pretty hot. And I also seemed to battle with the sandy patches on every lap.”

Tsosane won the national cross-country trials in Potchefstroom last month and is part of Team SA who will travel to this year’s World Championships in Spain at the end of March. It will be his third world championships, having placed 107th at the 2009 champs in Amman, Jordan and improving that to 62nd in Poland last year.

Next best South African was 2:08 marathon runner Stephen Mokoka, who ended sixth, 17sec behind his countryman.

Best South African in the women’s race was Annerien van Schalkwyk, who recently ran a fine 2:35 marathon in Singapore.

She was in 11th spot on Sunday, timed at 28:49, 1:35 behind the winner. “I just went full blast from the gun,” said the tall blonde who hails from Irene in Gauteng North. “I had to go hard all way because I don’t have a finishing sprint. I ran at two of the recent Yellow Pages track events to get my speed up but I’m going to keep on working on that speed before world championships.”

Van Schalkwyk wore the green and gold at the 2009 world championships, placing 59th in Amman two years ago.

There was still medal success in the team stakes for South Africa as the men took silver and the women bronze in the seniors category.

The junior men’s title over 8km went to Kenya’s Japhet Korir in 23:03 (8km) and the junior women’s title was grabbed by Caroline Chepkoech in 19:59 over 6km.

Best local junior was Sylvia Tshetlanyane in 12th spot while our best junior boy was Luyanda Qolo in 14th spot.