JOHANNESBURG – A talented young crop of South African athletes will be flying the flag at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, tomorrow.
The 22-member squad is brimming with promising stars, including Olympic track athlete Dominique Scott-Efurd and cross country specialist Precious Mashele.
South Africa finished 14th overall at the previous edition in Kampala, Uganda, and is yet to earn a podium place at the biennial showpiece.
Three promising juniors from two years ago, Ryan Mphahlele, Kabelo Seboko and Pakiso Mthembu, have graduated to the senior team.
Seboko was one of the top performers at the world championships in Kampala in 2017 when he finished in a creditable 25th place in the junior event.
They will join cross country stalwart Mashele, steeplechase specialist Rantso Mokopane and Thabang Mosiako.
The women’s team boasts a good mix between youth and experience with Kesa Molotsane leading the charge in the senior event.
Molotsane will return for her second World Cross Country Championships after she made a good impression in Kampala, where she was South Africa’s top woman performer. She finished in a solid 36th place and will once again have rising star Glenrose Xaba in the women’s senior team.
Waking up to some great news for Track & Field in South Africa - Three new sponsors have come on board to support the U18, U20 & Senior @AthleticsSA_ Championships!!— DOM • SCOTT-EFURD (@domscottrunSA) March 19, 2019
Thank you for believing in the future of our sport 🇿🇦🏆@BacktrackSports @Twizza_ZA @SizweMedical @3_sixty_life
“I am looking forward to it, I hope everything works out well because I have dedicated so much focus on it,” Molotsane said. “I trust I will improve on my position from the last time.”
Track specialist Scott-Efurd will make her debut at the event, with Jenet Mbhele and Aynslee van Graan also lining up at the global showpiece for the first time.
“On Saturday my first and foremost challenge is also going to be just to try and stick with my more experienced teammates - Kesa Molotsane, Dominique Scott and Glenrose Xaba,” Van Graan said. “If I manage to do so, I might just surprise myself.”
The junior women have rising stars Prudence Sekgodiso and Carmie Prinsloo making their international cross country debuts.@ockertde