Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
25 Jul 2021
8:01 am

SA’s marathon runners will always be in the mix

Wesley Botton

Maybe Thugwane's gold medal made me too optimistic, but I just can't shake it.

Stephen Mokoka of South Africa remains a medal contender at the Tokyo Games. Picture: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

For all the good it did, both for me as a young fan and for South African road running, Josia Thugwane's memorable victory in the marathon at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics made me an eternal optimist. And as much as I've tried to hold myself back - understanding that Thugwane was an anomaly and his surprise victory does not mean every South African athlete has a chance in the longest running event at the Games - I just can't help myself. As dominant as East African athletes have been in the marathon in recent decades, the world's fastest athletes only...