Glenrose Xaba in action during the 2018 FNB Cape Town 12 OneRun in Cape Town on 20 May 2018. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Glenrose Xaba has hit the kind of brilliant form that saw her become champion of the Women’s 10km Grand Prix Series last year, and is now confident of a podium finish in the Pietermaritzburg leg of the 2019 season at the weekend.

The Boxer Athletic Club starlet believes she can still force her way into an overall podium placing with two races to go. The Johannesburg leg is the last race in the series.

Xaba had a good run in Centurion, Tshwane where she finished third overall and was the first South African home despite the race coming a week after her half marathon debut at the ADA 21.1km Championships in Port Elizabeth.

Even there; the Mpumalanga athlete flew SA’s flag the highest as she qualified for the World Half Marathon Championships to be held in Poland in March.

“In Tshwane my legs were heavy after the national championships the week before. But I am glad that I managed to run 35 minutes on the day,” Xaba said. “I am in great form now. I want to be on the podium in the remaining races and see how (it) is going to pan out overall. I think I still have a chance to finish on the podium if those in front of me can drop points in the next two races.”

Under the astute and strict tutelage of champion coach Michael Seme, Xaba has grown from being a scrawny, timid athlete into a strong competitor who is confident she can take on all comers. She has been training under the watchful eye of national marathon and half marathon champion Stephen Mokoka as well as Violet Semenya.

“Stephen is my mentor. In his absence Violet is always there for me. She phones me every day to check how my training went. I have a great team behind me,” Xaba said.

Xaba is looking ahead to the run in Pietermaritzburg with confidence.

“The preparations for the weekend are going well. I have been training with Stephen who is preparing for the world championships (in Doha next month). He is helping me a lot. He is good teacher and I have a lot of respect for him,” Xaba said.

Currently in eighth position, the 25-year-old said injuries were behind her slow start in the series, but she is confident of moving up the rankings.

“I did run in PE and Cape Town, but I had calf and hip injuries between December and January. I recovered only at the end of May. I started to hit form now and I want to do well in the last two races,” she said.

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As she looks back and sees how she has developed over the years, Xaba is quick to give credit to Elana van Zyl-Meyer.

“Elana has been a real encouragement to me. I met her two years ago at a camp she was running and she advised that running 21km will do me and my career a world of good. She tested our strength and weaknesses, and afterwards she told me I would do well in the half marathon,” Xaba said.

That much was evident in PE when Xaba made a stunning debut to finish third overall and as the first South African.

“I am so excited about my qualification for the championships because they will be my first on the road. I have previously gone to the cross country championships.”

@Tshiliboy

 

The Star

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