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New national 10km champions to be decided in KZN

Sunday sees the definite crowning of new champions at the SA 10-kilometre Championships with none of the defending champions present to defend their titles at this year’s annual championships in Ethekwini, KwaZulu-Natal.

Last year’s champion Elroy Gelant will miss the championships due to his preparation for the European leg of the track and field season while women’s defending champion Irvette van Zyl (formally Van Blerk) will be competing at a 10km race in India.

Possible contenders for the men’s title include two-time champion Stephen Mokoka.┬áThe 5000 metre and 10000m national title holder won the championships in 2009 and 2010 while finishing second in 2011. The next year Mokoka won an additional three titles at a 10km race in Pretoria, the Foskor 10km in Phalaborwa and the Jacaranda City Challenge in Pretoria.┬áHe finished fourth at the SA 10km Championships.

Marathon champion Benedict Moeng as well as last year’s eighth-place finisher Lungisa Mdedelwa are also part of the line-up.┬áOther familiar faces in the men’s field include SA Marathon record holder Gert Thys and Siyabonga Nkonde to name a few. Nkonde and Mdedelwa both competed at the Calder Cup 10km in Durban on 14 April with Mdedelwa winning the race.┬á Nkonde finished second with their times recorded 29:24 and 29:34 respectively.

Lebo Phalula, the winner of the SA Cross Country Trials in Boksburg and the 10km Bestmed Tuks 10km in Pretoria on 16 February is part of the women’s field. She also finished second behind Mapaseka Makhanya at this year’s SA Senior Track and Field Championships in the women’s 5000m but this time the 29-year-old from Central Gauteng has one goal only, and that is a new personal best time.

ÔÇ£I am just going to do my best when I get there because I will be running against my time,ÔÇØ she said. Phalula will be up against some familiar faces on the road which include Zintle Xiniwe, Portia Ngwenya, Christine Kalmer and Cornelia Joubert.

The 24-year-old SA marathon champion Cornelia Joubert will also be a contender for the title on Sunday and is hoping to improve her 10km after three 10km road races this year. At the CGA 10km Championships she finished second behind Christine Kalmer as she crossed the line in 35:52. Joubert then won the Wally Hayward 10km race on 1 May in 35:59, but her best time of the season was 34:26 at the Spar Ladies race in Port Elizabeth on 4 May with a fourth place finish.┬áThe Central Gauteng athlete also competed at the SA Senior Championships in Stellenbosch on 12 April where she finished second in the women’s 10 000m race behind Mpho Mabuza.

The SA 10km championships will start at 8am with the route starting and finishing at the Kings Park Athletics Stadium in Ethekwini.┬áThe route will consist of a double 5km lap.┬áThe athletes will have the benefit of spectator support as they race though the stadium after one lap and a unique experience of running around the Durban’s iconic Moses Mahbida stadium.

A total of R29,700 has been made available for prize money with the winners in the open category receiving R3000. Second and third place will receive R2000 and R1000 respectively.  Athletes finishing fourth and fifth will receive R500 and R250 for their efforts. There are also prize money for the other categories and team prizes.


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