Team manager Nick Bester (left) is happy to be able to send a women’s team. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

SVETI - The nine-member South African ultra-distance team departed for Sveti, Croatia on Tuesday, ahead of the 100km World Championships to be held on Saturday.

The men's team, consisting of five athletes, will be led by three-time Comrades Marathon winner Bongmusa Mthembu - who secured the silver medal at the previous edition of the event in 2016, when he set a national record of 6 hours 24 minutes 05 seconds.

The SA men's squad will also target a team medal after Mthembu led them to silver in the team competition two years ago.

He will be joined by former Comrades winner Claude Moshiywa, Best Ngwenya and Nkosinathi Duma.

Bongmusa Mthembu in action on Polly Shorts during the 2017 Comrades Marathon. Photo: BackpagePix
Bongmusa Mthembu in action on Polly Shorts during the 2017 Comrades Marathon. Photo: BackpagePix

While another former Comrades champion, Ludwick Mamabolo, was a late withdrawal from the team due to injury, he has been replaced by Thuso Mosiea, a 2015 Comrades gold medallist who finished 20th at this year's race in Kwazulu-Natal.

The four-member women's team will be spearheaded by two-time Comrades gold medallist Salome Cooper.

She will line up alongside Fikile Mbuthuma, Deanne Horn and Lisa Collett.

“We have a good chance to reach the podium. We are in good shape and we are taking this assignment very seriously. Our task is to compete for medals and a good finish,” said the captain of the men’s team, Bongmusa Mthembu.

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Salome Cooper, the captain for the women team, said: “We are so thankful to ASA for the support that they have given to this entire team. We are looking forward to the championship and it will be a tough, but welcomed competition.”

Nick Bester, the team coach said: “We have a very strong and balanced team which is capable of bringing us honours. We are even happier that this time we have been able to send a women’s team.” 

African News Agency (ANA)

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