Lungisa, Mpho SA's best | SASCOC - SASCOC

Lungisa, Mpho SA’s best

By Mark Etheridge

Lungisa Mdadelwa and Mpho Mabuza were South Africa’s top finishers at the African Cross-Country Championships in Cape Town on Sunday.

Mdadelwa ended 12th, clocking 37min 29sec for the 12-kilometre course around the WPCC fields in Rondebosch while Mabuza ended 17th in 29:33 for the women’s 8km course.

“I ended up about eighth or ninth last year,” said Mdadelwa, 27, afterwards. “I started slowly and moved up today. I was hoping for top 10 or thereabouts today. But I definitely feel better than when I race here last year.”

Mdadelwa, an educator in Bizani, Transkei, heads back home to work on Monday morning.

The men’s race was won by Kenyan Clement Langat in 35:43. After Mdadelwa, next best South African was Elroy Gelant, just back from the World Indoor track and field championships in Turkey where he ran the 3000m final.

Gelant was 14th in 37:39. “I think we started a bit slowly today but it was great to be racing against these guys. I was a bit sickly in the few days before World Champs in Turkey but am fine now. I’m staying on in Cape Town now because I’m racing the 5000m at the Yellow Pages meeting in Stellenbosch on Tuesday.”

For her part Mabuza, 32, was just happy to be competing against the best of the continent. “It was my first African championships. I wanted to race against the Kenyans and we hung in there for 1.5km. Now I’m concentrating on running the 10,000m at SA track and field championships in Port Elizabeth next month,” said the part-time sports assistant at Soweto primary school.

Twenty-three-year-old Joyce Chepkirui won the women’s race in 27:04. She led three other Kenyans across the finish line and they in turn were followed by four Ethiopians and the top 10 was rounded off by a lone Ugandan.