Ethiopian star Tadu Nare absent from Spar Grand Prix opener in Cape Town

Ethiopian star Tadu Nare will be absent from this weekend’s season opening Spar Grand Prix 10km race in Cape Town. Photo: Carl Fourie

Ethiopian star Tadu Nare will be absent from this weekend’s season opening Spar Grand Prix 10km race in Cape Town. Photo: Carl Fourie

Published Mar 21, 2024


For once, there will be no Tadu Nare to chase when the elite runners tackle a Spar Grand Prix race as this year’s edition of the popular women’s 10km event kicks off in Cape Town on Sunday.

The Ethiopian starlet who turns out in the green colours of Nedbank Running Club has so dominated the series in the last three years that the question ahead of each race has not been who would win but rather who will finish second behind Nare.

A champion of the Grand Prix in the previous three years, Nare – alongside her compatriot Selam Gebre who usually takes the runner-up position – is sitting this weekend’s race out due to competition somewhere else.

While it opens up the door for South African runners such former Grand Prix champion Glenrose Xaba and her teammate Cacisile Sosibo to shine, the Boxer Athletic Club duo will not have it so easy.

Nedbank manager Nick Bester has discovered other Ethiopians who are likely to be just as competitive as Nare and Gebre.

“We are building a new Nedbank Ethiopian team,” said Bester. “We have entered two juniors, Diniya Kedir Abaraya and Getenesh Agafaw, and will use the Spar races to develop them into world-class athletes like Tadu and Salem.”

With personal bests of 32:03 and 32:46 set in Durban and Tshwane respectively last year, Abaraya and Agafawa are evidently talented and Bester’s statement that they are ‘developing’ them sounds somewhat wrong given the times they are running already.

Xaba though is a seasoned campaigner of the Spar Grand Prix as she has proven in the previous years by challenging Nare and Gebre, albeit it mostly in vain. The last South African to win the Grand Prix, the lass from Mpumalanga continues to prove herself as the country’s best 10km female runner and did this a fortnight ago when she won the ASA national 10km Championships in Johannesburg in good time of 33 minutes.

A versatile thlete, Xaba is also Athletics Gauteng North’s 10 000m track champion and remains highly competitive in cross-country – so much so she, along with Sosibo, will be representing South Africa at the World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia next week.

She would no doubt love nothing more than to clock massive Grand Prix points by winning in Cape Town on Sunday to put herself in line for the R200 000 available to the overall winner of the five cities’ – Cape Town, Gqeberha, Durban, Tshwane and Johannesburg - series ’s prize.

While there will be other races in Mbombela and Pietermaritzburg, athletes will not be earning Grand Prix points from performances there.

With a further incentive of R75 000 going to the South African with the most Grand Prix points, expect Xaba and Sosibo to forget for a little over half an hour that they are teammates in the Mother City on Sunday.

Their teammates the Phalula twins – Lebogang and Lebo-Diana have also registered and will be running their maiden race in the 40+ age category. Also expected at the race is former Grand Prix winner KEsa Molotsane.

Sunday’s race will start and finish at the Greenpoint Stadium precinct.


IOL Sport