Central Gauteng Athletics continues to produce champs at 2021 Cross Country Provincial Championships held over this past Saturday, 09 January 2021 at Kagiso Sports Complex.
This was the first event of its kind in the new normal of COVID-19 pandemic which catered for Juniors and Seniors categories (incorporating U/17 age group) that are World Championships qualifying age categories. The aim of the CGA Cross Country Championships was to give a competition opportunity to our athletes and to prepare athletes that have qualified for the ASA Cross Country Trials which are due to take place on the 23 January 2021 in Potchefstroom.
The event had to follow strict safety protocols of COVID-19 in ensuring the safety of our athletes and officials. With the approvals received from authorities, we had to ensure that protocols are followed throughout the event which included pre-entries, social distancing and wearing of a mask.
We commenced our programmes of the day with the moment of silence in memory of late CGA Technical Official and deputy chairperson of the CGA Technical Officials Committee, Bruce Mpela who passed away on the 8th January 2021.
Junior women’s event opened the program of the day that saw top two ladies, Gene Coetzee and Sarah Copeland dominating the race in the distance of 6km, Gene Coetzee earned gold in the time of 23:22 and Sarah Copeland secured a second position in 23:49.
The junior men’s event was dominated by Simphiwe Thombela of Waterfall Athletics Club who is in fine form, he took command of the race with an exciting performance over a distance of 8km. Reatlegile Mosweu reached the podium in second place in the 26:57 with 12 seconds behind Thombela to secured first position clocking the time of 26:45.
Another stunning performance was senior women 10km event which saw Cacisile Sosibo running neck to neck with the Phalula twins. Lebo Phalula proved to be a better runner on the day when she accelerated over the 4th laps to claim the first prize in a time of 37:28; “l am so happy with my performance, it’s a sign for 2021 season. I’m looking forward to a great performance at my trials in Potchefstroom”, said Lebo Phalula during the post-event interview. Lebogang secured a bronze medal in the time of 38:15 after a technical race by Sosibo’s strategy to split the twins for the second position in a time of 37:37.
The Championships were concluded with full of excitement following the men’s 10km event, which saw Kabelo Melamo eager to triumph over 22 runners from the start of the race. This lasted until the last lap when Precious Mashele closed the gap to earn gold in a time of 31:13. Melamo settled for a silver medal with an impressive performance of 31:26. In the post-interview with Mashele, he said he was training very hard during the holiday season to maintain his victory as Provincial Cross Country champion. A third place was claimed by Simon Sibeko of Quite Cool Athletics Club who crossed the finish line in a time of 31:37.
CGA Cross Country Chairperson Steven Khanyile highlighted during the post-interview that today’s event was very important to athletes following the withdrawal of 2020 Cross Country season. “The main aim of this event is to ensure that we create a platform in terms of giving athletes an opportunity to compete. Under the COVID-19 lockdown, it is challenging to organise such races, but we are very grateful that as Cross Country Commission to have successfully organised it”.