Yellow Pages SA senior team still not named

2011-04-01 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Athletics (KZNA) announced a 22-athlete team for the SA Yellow Pages Youth, Junior and U23 Championships in Germiston on Saturday and Sunday.

Simone Meyer, who will compete in both the discus and shot put, is amongst the leading medal hopes in the team. Other podium hopes rest with Sonwabiso Skhosana (400 metre and 200 m), Thabiso Kekana (400 m hurdles), Mzobe Cosmos (5 000 m), Mbali Mokoena (3 000 m), Mnyandu Nompumelelo (1 500 m), Edrin Mukasa (800 m) and Sharnice Manice (400 m and 200 m).

The Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships will be held at Kings Park the following Saturday and Sunday. However, the KZN Senior team will be announced only next week. The KZNA office are becoming known for their late notification of teams to both the media and the athletes, with even cases of marathon runners being notified of their team inclusion less than two weeks before the race.

It’s not only in the boardroom that KZN Athletics struggled last week. On the same day that the executive informed members that they had overspent by R940 000, the province battled to make any impression in the first leg of the Yellow Pages Interprovincial Challenge.

KZN, as the second largest province in the country, was last of the nine provinces and only able to scrape a meagre 1 880 points compared to the Central North West’s leading total of 23 890 and second-placed Western Cape’s 23 164 points.

The top five provinces were able to get over 21 900 points and even Athletics North West North, one of the smallest provinces in the country, were able to top 5 000 points, over two-and-a-half times that of bottom-of-the-log KZN.

To add insult to injury, KZN Athletics’ financials show that over R1,63 million was spent by the Development Commission, R1,4 million on track-and-field, and the KZN Athletics letterhead boasts an association with the provincial Academy of Excellence and yet the province has failed to rank anywhere in terms of excellence in road, cross-country or track-and-field in the country. Generally, the odd elite athlete the province can lay claim to has been developed by their own coaches, not by provincial programmes.

The provincial points going into the second and final leg of the Yellow Pages Interprovincial, which will be held in Bellville on April 16, are:

1. Athletics Central North West 23 890

2. Western Province Athletics 23 164

3. Central Gauteng Athletics 22 337

4. Athletics Gauteng North 22 226

5. Athletics Free State 21 987

6. USSA Athletics 18 833

7. Mpumalanga Athletics 7 023

8. Athletics North West North 5 027

9. KwaZulu-Natal Athletics 1 880

One of the top KZN Comrades qualifiers is run tomorrow from Bergville to Ladysmith. In its peak days the Arthur Creswell attracted close to 5 000 runners for the 52-kilometre journey, which offers one of the easiest qualification and seeding times for the Comrades Marathon.

Prospective Comrades runners have six hours 30 minutes to complete the distance, which is the same time allowed for 54 km events.

This is the 46th running of the event, which commences at 6 am from the Bergville Farmers Hall and heads north towards Ladysmith, with only Childs Hill as a major barrier to progress, although the long, gradual climb from 36 km to the marathon mark can be a problem for those who go off too fast.

The top three finishers earn gold medals with silver going to the next 50 over the line, and the remaining finishers earn bronze medals.

Race numbers can be collected from the clubhouse in Klipbank Road in Ladysmith today from 2 pm to 6 pm or at the start from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm tomorrow.

There are buses from the finish to the start on race morning, leaving at 4 am.

There is an associated 21 km race sponsored by the N3 Toll Concession, which starts and finishes at the club house. This event commences at 7 am with a five-kilometre fun run following 15 minutes later.

There is the usual post-race hospitality at the club house and Jean Mari has more details on all races at 076 536 7070.

For those not travelling up to the Drakensburg, there is the Queensburgh Mine Shaft 21,1 km run and 15 km walk in Durban.

The half-marathon commences at 6 am with the 15 km walk off five minutes later, and with T-shirts to the first 500 finishers and goodie bags to all.

The race tours the suburb, which sits on the side of a hill, ensuring more than a few challenges during the two-lapper.

Dean Wight can provide more details at 083 630 2423.

Cross-country runners will be disappointed with the news that League 3, organised by Savages on April 9, and League 4, hosted on April 16 by Collegians Harriers, have both been cancelled. The loss of these two leagues reduces the season to a total of eight leagues, including the provincial championships, and is sure to come as a surprise, given that Boxer Superstores has this year sponsored a contribution to this discipline of athletics.

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