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Shange is highest SA finisher in Italian World Cup
- Updated: May 10, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s four race-walkers were up against it in World Cup action in Italy at the weekend.
The quartet of athletes were up against some of the world’s best walkers in the IAAF Team Championship in the Italian capital of Rome.
Lebogang Shange’s 57th spot in the men’s 20-kilometre race was the best of the bunch as he clocked 1hr 24min 53sec in the race won by China’s Zhen Wang (1:19:22).
The national record holder was up in contention through halfway (40:29) but faded in the second half.
Wayne Snyman took 70th place in 1:27:15 and Sizwe Ndebele ended 98th in 1:36:12, with the SA trio finishing 20th overall in the team competition. Zhen Wang of China won the race in 1:19:22.
Snyman chatted to Road to Rio 2016 during transit at Abu Dhabi Airport. ‘Lebo and I went to Europe early to ensure that we avoid tired legs after traveling and racing SA champs. We came into Rome on 5 May and met up with the rest of the South African team. Preparations went well as we got all the necessary training done. I felt good on race day with sunny conditions ahead. The race started very conservatively and we just sat with the pack.
‘The field was enormous with 133 starting our race. I had a nasty fall at 8km which broke my rhythm but I got up and walked hard to recover.
‘My body felt weak during the last period of the race where this is usually my strongest time. I was absolutely depleted at 18km and focused on finishing the race strong. I think the massive race two weeks ago at nationals may have been too much for my body. Now I have seven weeks to go home, refocus and get myself ready to take on Africa at the continental championships in Durban on 26 June. It’s been a long season for us.’
In the women’s 20km, SA record holder Anel Oosthuizen was 78th in 1:41:12 some way behind China’s Hong Liu who strode to the gold in 1:25:59.
‘I think we all just had a tough race day,’ said Oosthuizen. She told Road to Rio 2016: ‘It was quite close to nationals where we all did well. I’m very proud of my teammates who all gave their absolute all on the day.
‘My training for Rio now begins and next up is African Championships where we race on 26 June.
‘I’m still a bit tired, like every race you give you all and no matter what, your result is tough on your body.
‘But as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and it was an amazing experience to race against the best in the world.’