All set for cross country champs

2012-03-16 15:07

The majority of the nations participating in the African Cross Country Championships are expected to arrive in the country today ahead of the second edition of the the 21-nation contest in Cape Town on Sunday.

Host federation Athletics South Africa said it was a struggle to finalise the visas for some of the competing countries but it seems visa problems will not prevent participation this year.

Uganda failed to travel south last year because of visa problems.

ASA chief executive Frik Vermaak said: “It is difficult when people leave things to the last minute. I spoke to the Kenyans on Wednesday and they assured me that everything was in good order.”

Kenya are the defending champions, having claimed all four events in the inaugural championship, which was also held in Cape Town.

The East Africans and Uganda and Ethiopia are the bookmakers’ favourites going into this weekend’s competition.

The hosts cannot be underestimated as they boast individuals who can do the business against the best on the continent.

Elroy Gelant is the top gun in the men’s team, more so as he is in good form after he set the new SA 3 000m indoor record.

Gelant achieved the feat at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Turkey last weekend despite finishing last in 7:48.64.

The mark bettered Juan van Deventer’s record of 7:49.91 set in 2010.

South Africa’s women’s side, however, suffered a blow with the withdrawal of Lebogang Phalula due to a knee injury.

Ashley Schnetler, who was the 2010 top preforming junior, has taken Phalula’s place.

Team SA

Senior men: Gelant, Kgosi Tsosane, Boy Soke, Lungisa Mdadelwa, Dean Brummer and David Manja.
Senior women: Mpho Mabuza, Lebo Phalula, Portia Ngwenya, Ntombisintu Mfunzi and Nolene Conrad.

Participating countries
South Africa (hosts), Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Congo, Egypt, Mauritius, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Sudan, Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

The programme
Junior women – 6km (10am)
Junior men – 8km (10.30am)
Medal ceremony – juniors (11.10am)
Senior women – 8km (11.30am)
Senior men – 12km (12:10pm)
Development run, juniors – 4km (12.50pm)

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