DETERMINED: SA’s 5 000m record-holder Elroy Gelant feels refreshed and more confident after training at high altitude in Kenya. (Roger Sedres, Gallo Images)
Cape Town – Aiming to secure their places in the
national team for the upcoming IAAF World Cross Country Championships in two months’ time,
some of South Africa’s top distance runners will battle it out at the ASA Cross
Country Trials in Tshwane this weekend.
The trials event at
the Tuks sports grounds on Saturday will feature four races, with senior men’s
10km and women’s 10km contests on the programme, as well as junior men’s 8km
and women’s 6km events.
The entry lists include 22 athletes
invited by ASA, who all achieved the required criteria at last year’s ASA Cross
Country Championships, as well as 41 individual athletes who have been entered
by their provinces.
An exciting battle is on the cards in
the senior men’s race, with national champion Precious Mashele turning out
against the likes of versatile athlete Elroy Gelant, rising star Ryan Mphahlele
and track specialist Jerry Motsau.
In the senior women’s race, USA-based athlete
Dominique Scott-Efurd will line up as the favourite, though she is expected to
face a strong challenge from a field which includes consistent performers Kesa
Molotsane and Cherise Sims.
“We gave the athletes a stern
warning to go all out and prepare themselves because we don’t want to send a
team just for the sake of it,” said ASA President, Aleck Skhosana.
“When we go to the IAAF World
Cross Country Championships we need to improve on what we did in 2017, so we
want them to prove to us that they are fit.
“On Saturday we believe the
athletes will be going all out to fight for the top six positions, in order to
gain selection in each category.”
Following the ASA Cross Country Trials,
a national squad will be announced ahead of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships to be held in
Aarhus, Denmark on 30 March, 2019.