AARHUS – Precious Mashele was in fine form at the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark where he finished in a creditable 16th place on Saturday.
The South African cross-country team’s youngsters were in equally good shape with the junior men and women, finishing fifth in the team competition.
Mashele raced to a top-20 place over the 10,240m course in the men’s race, finishing in a time of 33:05.
The spoils belonged Ugandan and regular visitor to South Africa, Joshua Cheptegei, who won in a time of 31:40. The team prize also belonged to the Ugandans, with Jacob Kiplimo sharing the podium with his countryman with a time of 31:44.
Talented youngster Pakiso Mthembu was South Africa’s second-best senior male athlete, finishing in 59th place in a time of 34:27.
Lining up at his third World Cross-Country Championships, Mashele proved the value of patience in such a tough event. He finished 39th at his maiden championships in Guiyang in 2015, and in Kampala two years ago he finished 57th.
It was with that in mind that South Africa’s juniors could benefit from a few years of nurturing.
Racing at her first World Cross-Cross Championships, Prudence Sekgodiso once again highlighted why she is rated so highly. The 17-year-old spearheaded the junior women’s team, finishing in an impressive 20th place in the 6km race, clocking a time of 22:15.
Team-mate Carmie Prinsloo did equally well crossing in 27th place with a time of 22:43 with the junior women finishing fifth overall.
The junior men racing over eight kilometres finished fifth in their category with Robert de Villiers, Maxime Chaumeton, and Ngcondo Matwebu finishing within seconds of each other.
De Villiers finished in 27th place posting a time of 26:16 with Chaumeton just two-seconds behind him one spot adrift. Matwebu followed only nine seconds behind for a 32nd place finish.
The senior women did not quite live up to their potential with Kesa Molotsane once again bowing out as the top South African.
Molotsane finished in 42nd place in 39:31 with Glenrose Xaba settling for 67th in 40:41.
Kenyan sensation Hellen Obiri won the women’s race in a time of 35:14 becoming the first female to win senior world titles indoors, outdoors and at cross country.
16 Precious Mashele 33:05
59 Pakiso Mthembu 34:27
67 Thabang Mosiako 34:43
70 Ryan Mphahlele 34:50
122 Kabelo Seboko 38:14
42 Kesa Molotsane 39:31
67 Glenrose Xaba 40:41
89 Aynslee van Graan 42:33
Junior men (8km):
27 Robert de Villiers
28 Maxime Chaumeton 26:18
32 Ngcondo Matwebu 26:27
63 Nicholas Seopsenwe 27:17
64 Joshua Pholoana 27:18
74 Tumi Lephoto 27:42
Junior women (6km):
20 Prudence Sekgodiso 22:15
27 Carmie Prinsloo 22:43
39 Gene Coetzee 23:17
46 Danielle Verster 23:17
59 Cara du Preez 23:45