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Elroy eases to win
- Updated: February 20, 2012
Elroy Gelant raced to his way to an impressive victory in the SA cross-country trials in Potchefstroom at the weekend.
Gelant beat some of the country’s best athlete, including 2011 winner Kgosi Tsosane and old time favourite Steven Mokoka.
ÔÇ£I did not really go for the win, but I expected to finish in the top five,ÔÇØ said Gelant who had some impressive results on the European track circuit last year.
The 12km for the senior men consisted of six laps on the 2km course and it was not until the fourth lap that Mbongeni Ngxazozo broke away from the main group with David Manja, Gelant and Lungisa Mdadelwa following.┬áIn the next lap Gelant overtook Maja and lead the race to the finish line.
Mokoka started at the back of the pack and many expected him to come through and surprise with a finish in the top 10.┬áMokoka, who has already qualified for the London Olympics marathon, finished 18th, almost two minutes after Gelant came in.
However the reason for his so-called non-performance soon became evident ÔÇô he had run the Best Med Tuks half-marathon in Pretoria, earlier in the day.
The Phalula twins dominated the senior women’s 8km trials from the start with Nolene Conrad in the front pack with them.┬á Lebogang Phalula went into the last lap with a massive lead, almost 150m on her closest competitors and won the trials. According to Lebogang it was not a difficult race for he as she has been working hard on her fitness levels.
Defending champion Lebo Phalula came third with Mpho Mabuza finishing second, two weeks after running the SA Marathon Championships in George.┬á Other familiar faces to come through in the top 10 were Conrad who finished seventh and Christine Kalmer in 10th place.
The top 3 of the junior men’s trials was not decided until the last lap where Tunisang Monnatlala took the lead.┬á The last 300-400m however caused a lot of excitement as it was a sprint finish between Monnatlala and Sello Masia.┬á Sello Mokwena finished 3rd, also just after Masia. There were about 7 seconds between the top 3 athletes in the junior men’s category.
Sylvia Tshehtlanyane won the junior women’s title with Anylsee van Graan crossing the line 2nd.┬á Third place went to Luleka Dyonki from Central North West.┬áAnylsee’s sister Kyla finished fourth.
The top four athletes (seniors and juniors) have a guaranteed spot in the team for the Africa Cross Country Championships taking place in Cape Town on 18 March, with the same rules applying to the Southern region Cross Country Championships in Mauritius (3 March) where the seniors will compete.