YOUNGTERS LEAD THE CHARGE IN WOMEN’S MILE

The South African 1500m champion (senior and junior) Simonay Weitsz and Nicole Louw, the World U/18 championships 1500m finalist, are set to lead the charge against a stellar women’s field lining up for the annual TomTom Tembisa Streetmile.

If winning the SA 1500m championships aged 18 is anything to go by, surely Weitsz, a former winner, will be a force to reckon with on Sunday. Though sidelined by injury for a couple of months, the Zwartkop High School athlete worked her way through the ranks and recently enjoyed a few successful races. But like Weitsz, Nicole Louw poses a threat wherever she lines up, so it will be interesting to see what the SA U/18 1500m and 800m champion has to offer tomorrow. After running her way into the finals at the IAAF World U/18 champs in Kenya in July, don’t be surprised if she runs her way into the Tembisa Mile history books tomorrow. If she can hold her own and break away from her compatriots in the early stages of the race, we might be in for a young treat!

But surely seasoned campaigners like Lebogang Phalula, Anuscha Nice and Stella Marais would want a different script to be written on the day. Perhaps titles such as ‘Phalula the great wins again’ or ‘Tuks duo dominate in Tembisa’ sound perfect…but it’s all about putting your money where your mouth is, and these women can do that very well. Phalula is known as one of the best distance athletes in SA this decade and if she can pull this one off, again, it will be something to write about. Also developing into a class athlete is Stella Marais. She is the 2017 USSA 4km cross country champ and 1500m bronze medalist, meaning that the 1609m (1 mile) is her playing field. Nice, on the other hand, will have to run double her specialist 800m distance, but be sure not to write her off. Seen on cross country courses in Gauteng, the World Student Games representative has been working on upping her endurance and can easily be deliver the surprise package on Sunday.

Other youngsters packing the field are the SA youth and junior cross country champions Yandiswa Shange and Thobile Vilakazi, Tuks duo Keletso Senosi and Prudence Sekgodiso, and the Liza Kellerman. And although she is not a specialist middle distance runner, be on the lookout for the in-shape Glenrose Xaba. She has been dominating the 10km/21km scene this year, so let’s see if she can replicate those performances in Tembisa.

Written by Reginald Hufkie