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Shange shatters yet another SA walk record
- Updated: June 22, 2015
Lebogang Shange’s desire to break South African athletics records, is as irresistible as candlelight to a moth.
On Sunday, at Britain’s National Outdoor Championships in Bedford, Shange managed to improve the 26-year-old 20 000m South African track record, set by Stanley Valentine.
His winning time of 1hr 23min 20sec was more than a minute faster than Valentine’s record time of 1:24:51set back in 1989.
And still, the High Performance Centre athlete is slightly disappointed that he was not able to better the African record of 1:22:51 as well.
However, this latest record-breaking attempt of Shange means that he has wiped out 71 years of South African athletics record history so far this season. The other records that have fallen due to his fleet-footedness are the 20km race walk record of Chris Britz (1:22:21 – 1996) and Britz’s 3 000 metre track record (11:27.20 – 1989). Shange’s SA record for the 20km race walk is 1:21:50 and for the 3 000m it is 11min 20.39sec.
What is amazing about the HPC-athlete’s record breaking performances is that he had boldly predicted beforehand that he was going to do so. He said on 1 June that he was going to make Valentine’s record his and he proved himself to be a man of his word.
‘In spite of the weather conditions not being great, it was a great day for me in Bedford. It was quite windy but I realised that I had no control over the wind so I just focused on the challenge I had set myself, which was to set a new SA 20 000m record. Going around the track 50 times was mentally challenging.’
Fellow South African Marc Mundell (Tuks/HPC) was third in 1:28:55 while Tom Bosworth (Britain) finished second.
‘This has been a wonderful three-week trip and I have proved to myself that I can win abroad and compete successfully against the best in the world. Now it is time to prepare for the World Championships in Beijing,’ Shange said.
Shange has just reason to feel satisfied. On 6 June at the IAAF 20km Race Walk in La Coruna, Spain, he finished 11th, missing out by a mere second on equalling his own national record. Another highlight for him was winning the IAAF Race Walk Challenge in Dudinska. He was the first South African athlete able to do so.