Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
13 Jan 2014
6:40 am

Gelant says SA in with a chance

Wesley Botton

Elroy Gelant believes the national team has the ability to end South Africa's 15-year medal drought at the World Half-Marathon Championships.

Gelant Elroy of NWU, winner of the mens 3000m during the Varsity Athletics Challenge at Coetzenburg Stadium on April 15, 2013 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. (Photo by Luke Walker/Gallo Images)

“The aim is to finish in the top five in the men’s team competition, but I think a medal is possible with the guys we’ve got,” Gelant said yesterday after successfully defending his title at the Dis-Chem Half-Marathon in Bedfordview.

Gelant burst clear of course record holder Desmond Mokgobu with 600m remaining to snatch his second straight Dis-Chem crown in 1:07:24, holding off second-placed Mokgobu by eight seconds.

National champion Rene Kalmer secured a comfortable victory in the women’s race in 1:18:26, nearly two minutes clear of Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Nyahora.

Gelant, who was third at the SA Half-Marathon Championships in East London in September, is expected to be joined by Stephen Mokoka, Lusapho April and Gladwin Mzazi at the global 21km showpiece in Copenhagen at the end of March – if Athletics South Africa sends a full squad of four men, with the first three athletes counting towards the team prize.

They might become the first SA squad to earn a medal at the World Half-Marathon Championships since Hendrick Ramaala, Abner Chipu and Mluleki Nobanda won gold in Palermo in 1999.

“Stephen Mokoka and Lusapho April both have the potential to finish in the top 10,” Gelant said.

“So if either Mzazi or I can get in the top 15, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

Gelant leaves for Europe in February in an attempt to qualify for the men’s 3 000m at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot in March. – wbotton@citizen.co.za