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Shange walking tall after two SA records in one week
- Updated: March 16, 2015
Lebogang Shange has broken a South African race walk record for the second time in eight days.
Sunday’s time for the 20-kilometre race walk event in Lugano, Switzerland, was 1hr 21min 50sec.
Shange was second behind Frenchman, Yohann Diniz, who broke the 20km world record on 8 March.
The time walked by Shange, an athlete from the High Performance Centre, is 32 seconds faster than the previous South African record (1:22:21) which was set by Chris Britz 19 years ago in Eissenhuttenstadt.
His record time means that Shange has qualified for the World Championships in Beijing (22-30 August).
At the University of Pretoria last week, Shange bettered another SA record that was set by Britz, his coach, by winning the 3000m walk in a time of 11:20.39. His time was nearly seven seconds faster than the previous record of 11:27.20 that was set even further back, in 1989.
Diniz’s winning time in Lugano was 1:17:24. Caio Oliveira (Brazil) was third in 1:22:00 and Tom Bosworth (England) fourth in 1:22:23.
Race walking might just be the most exciting athletics event at the moment because hardly a weekend passes without a world record being bettered.
Diniz broke the 20km race walk world record at the French Championships in Arles last week, clocking 1:17:02. However, his record was broken in turn a few days later by Japan’s Yusuke Suzuki at the Asian Race Walking Championships in Numi, Suzuki’s home town. Suzuki improved it by 26 seconds, winning at the IAAF Race Walking Challenge meeting in 1:16:36.
Britz is quite excited about his protégé’s performances and does not hesitate to predict that Shange is undoubtedly capable of even faster times. ‘It would seem that Lebogang’s time for the first 10km was 41 minutes and 20 seconds and his time over the last 10km was very near to 40 minutes. The challenge now is to get him to go out a little bit faster over the first 10km.
‘There are still a few small things in his technique that need to be sorted out and it is very important that Shange should believe in his own abilities.’
Shange next competes in Dudinska, Slovakia, this weekend.