Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
14 Feb 2018
3:09 pm

SA half-marathon team gears up to break medal drought

Wesley Botton

Stephen Mokoka leads a male contingent that can genuinely aim for a podium finish in Spain next month.

Stephen Mokoka holds the national 10km record. Photo: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images.

Stephen Mokoka will lead a 10-member national team to the World Half-Marathon Championships in Valencia next month, with a strong men’s contingent expected to target a rare medal.

While South Africa has earned a total of seven podium places in the senior men’s and women’s divisions at the global 21.1km showpiece, it has been 19 years since the country appeared on the medals table.

Mokoka, the SA 10km and 15km record holder, would join national 5 000m track record holder Elroy Gelant and experienced campaigner Mbongeni Ngxazozo in the squad, Athletics SA revealed on Wednesday.

They would be backed in the men’s race by national cross country champion Precious Mashele and marathon prospect Melikhaya Frans, with the top three finishers counting towards the team competition.

The women’s team would feature marathon runners Cornelia Joubert, Mapaseka Makhanya, Lebogang Phalula and Nolene Conrad, as well as shorter distance specialist Jenet Dlamini.

The 23rd edition of the biennial half-marathon spectacle was set to be held in the coastal Spanish city on March 24.

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