The Southern Region Cross Country Championships is taking place on Saturday 3 March and Athletics South Africa’s selected a senior team to represent South Africa in Mauritius. The team has been selected from the athletes that competed in Potchefstroom at the SA Cross Country Trials on 18 February 2012.
Elroy Gelant won the men’s trials in Potchefstroom but won’t be available for the Mauritius team as he will be in action at the second Yellow Pages Interprovincial meeting in Bellville on 3 March and then move on to the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul taking place from 9-11 March.
The men’s team consists of experienced cross country athletes like Boy Soke, Lungisa Mdedelwa, Kgosi Tsosane and Dean Brummer with athletes like David Manja and Isaac Mbuyase looking to gain valuable experience at the upcoming Championships.
The 29 year-old Soke from the Free State have represented South Africa at major Cross Country Championships since the start of his career as a junior athlete in 2005. In the same year Soke represented South Africa at the World Cross Country Championships in France. Four years later as a senior athlete Soke was selected for the team as a senior at the World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan where he finished 41st. Last year it was the Africa Cross Country Championships in Cape Town (6/03/2011) as well as the World Cross Country Championships in Spain where Soke finished 12th and 43st respectively.
He finished 4th at the trials on 18 February and will be helping the team in Mauritius over the weekend. Lungisa Mdedelwa finished 8th at the Africa Cross Country Championships in Cape Town in 2011 and also have the experience of two World Cross Country Championship behind his name, being Bydgoszcz in 2010 and Spain in 2011.
In terms of major Championships three World Cross Country Championships and one Africa Cross Country Championship in 3 consecutive years (2009-2011) is written behind Kgose Tsosane’s name. Tsosane represented South Africa at the Africa Cross Country Championships in 2011 where he finished 5th.
Brummer may not be as experienced as athletes like Soke, Mdedelwa and Tsosane in Cross Country, but is definitely not short in experience as far as athletics go in general. Brummer represented South Africa at the World Cross Country Championships in Kenya in 2007. Brummer is better known as a long distance athlete on the track competing in events like the 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 3000m steeple chase amongst others.
Amongst the women are the Phalula twins, marathon runners Mpho Mabuza and Ntombesintu Mfunzi and middle and long distance track and field athlete, Nolene Conrad.
Lebo and Lebogang Phalula represented South Africa at 4 different World Cross Country Championships which included 2005 as juniors, and 2009, 2010 and 2011. Lebogang’s best results were in 2010 where she finished 15th at the World Championships while Lebo finished 22nd in the same year.
Nolene Conrad is well known as a track and field athlete and have qualified for the team when she finished 7th at the trials on 18 February. The first 6 were chosen but Onneile Dintwe, who finished 4th, is from Botswana were therefore not eligible for team selection.
Mpho Mabuza and Ntombesintu Mfunzi are both marathon runners. Mabuza finished 2nd at the SA Marathon Championships in George on 5 February while Mfunzi’s last marathon was in September 2011 in Mossel bay where she finished 4th.
The team will leave for Mauritius on Thursday, 1 March at 09:00.
See full team below:
Senior Men Senior Women
David Manja (ACNW) Lebo Phalula (CGA)
Boy Soke (AFS) Mpho Mabuza (CGA)
Lungisa Mdedelwa (ATRA) Lebogang Phalula (CGA)
Dean Brummer (ACNW) Portia Ngwenya (AGN)
Kgosi Tsosane (AGN) Ntombesintu Mfunzi (EPA)
Isaac Mbuyase (CGA) Nolene Conrad (CGA)
Reserve: Reserve :
Mbongeni Ngxazozo (CGA) Ashleigh Schnetler (CGA)
Anna Moeketsi (AFS)