Finishing speed gets ‘excited’ Xaba across the line

Glenrose Xaba was all smiles after winning the Cape Town leg of the Spar Grand Prix 10km series yesterday. Photo: ASHLEY VLOTMAN Gallo Images

Glenrose Xaba was all smiles after winning the Cape Town leg of the Spar Grand Prix 10km series yesterday. Photo: ASHLEY VLOTMAN Gallo Images

Published Mar 25, 2024


There are few things in sport that please coach and athlete more than having their plan come together on event day.

When it happens, it is magical – and the duo’s delight is there for everyone to see.

This was the case at the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town yesterday when Glenrose Xaba ended a five-year South African drought by winning a race in the Spar Grand Prix Series.

The Boxer Athletics Club starlet breasted the tape in a time of 32:17, ahead of Ethiopians Diniya Kedir Abaraya (32:24) and Geternesh Agafaw (33:01) of Nedbank Running Club.

“It was a good race, and it went according to the plan I had discussed with my coach (Violet Semenya),” Xaba said afterwards.

“When Abaraya started sprinting with more than a kilometre left, I was surprised and thought she had misjudged the finish, but I did not give up.

“I’ve been working hard on my finishing speed, which helped in the end, and I was very excited to get the win.”

Semenya was even more delighted that her athlete – who was crowned national 10km champion a fortnight ago – is in fantastic form ahead of her trip to Serbia, where she will represent South Africa in the World Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

“I’m overwhelmed and very happy. I was a little surprised with Glenrose’s position, but not really surprised by her time, and it shows she is on the right track,” Semenya said, lauding the Spar Grand Prix for opening doors for many women in South Africa.

“It has been very important in helping Glenrose become the mature athlete she is today. She is very hungry for success, and she is getting better and better.”

A Grand Prix champion back in 2018, Xaba has been one of the few local athletes – Kesa Molotsane, who finished fifth yesterday, being another, as well as Irvette van Zyl – who have made a fight of it as foreign athletes dominated the popular women’s 10km event in the last five years.

With Namibia’s Helalia Johannes (champion in 2019) and Tadu Nare (victorious in the last three years) taking turns in winning the series, the local athletes have had to be content with the crumbs of third place, as young Ethiopian Selam Gebre finished runner-up.

But Xaba’s victory – albeit in the trio’s absence yesterday – raises hopes that the title could well return home.

The manner of her triumph in particular showed that she has great fight in her as she lost the lead she’d taken at the halfway mark to Abaraya with 2km to go.

The lass from Mpumalanga pushed hard to overhaul the Ethiopian teenager and cross the finish line first for a memorable victory that was made all the more sweeter by the fact that there were eight locals in the top 10.

Top 10 Results

1. Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) 32:17, 2. Diniya Kedir Abaraya (Nedbank) 32:24, 3. Getenesh Agafaw (Nedbank) 33:02, 4. Cacisile Sosibo (Boxer) 33:06, 5. Kesa Molotsane (Kovsies) 33:17, 6. Karabo Mailula (Tuks) 34:43, 7. Lebogang Phalula-Luthuli (Boxer) 35:49, 8. Lebo Phalula-Mzazi (Boxer) 35:50, 9. Bianca Tarboton (Temp) 35:58, 10. Betha Sitariko (Atlantic) 36:25.

Related Topics:

Road Running