Former champions Elroy Gelant and Diana-Lebo Phalula reclaimed the men’s and women’s titles at the SA 10km Championships in Sasolburg on Saturday.
After struggling with a hamstring injury in 2015, Gelant burst back onto the domestic scene to win the men’s race in 29:15, delivering a late kick to drop four-time champion Stephen Mokoka.
Mokoka crossed the line three seconds off the pace, with Mbongeni Ngxazazo taking third place in 29:29.
“I had a horrible year (in 2015)… so this was an important race for me,” said Gelant, who turned out in the colours of Athletics Central North West.
In the women’s race, 2013 national champion Diana-Lebo Phalula stormed to a comfortable victory in 34:09 at the high-altitude event, which was held in conjunction with the annual Sasol Marathon road race.
“I want to qualify for the marathon and the 10 000m for the Rio Olympics, but first I want to prioritise the IAAF Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff next month,” she said.
Phalula’s twin sister and Central Gauteng teammate, Lebogang Phalula, ended second in 34:09 and Nolene Conrad, the 2014 SA 10km champion, took the bronze medal.
The race hosted the national squad’s final trials for the World Half-Marathon Championships, with the SA team for the spectacle expected to be announced next week.
While time keepers capturing the Sasol Marathon results picked up the times of the front runners, Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana apologised to entrants and team managers, admitting the federation had experienced “a technical glitch” which affected placings further down the field for the national championships.
“We will release the official results and times during the course of (next) week once the technical glitches in question are cleared,” Skhosana said.