BackTrack January Recap!!!


The month of January has been a great one for south African athletes with many milestones and victories achieved in the month. All the performances here are from athletes based abroad where competitions are well underway as local South Africans eagerly await to get started with the greenlight recently granted for competitions.


Here is a breakdown of some of the top performances from South Africans in the month of January:


Dais Malebana who is currently based in the USA (United State of America) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has had a fantastic start to his 2021 season showing the form he is in with his opening race of the year. Malebana clocked a fantastic time of 14:16:56 over a 5000m Indoor meeting. This achievement was not only a PB (personal best) time, but it has made him the 3rd fastest ever all-time University of Nebraska-Lincoln athlete. A performance that immediately catapulted him into the Universities record books after just months in his new university.


Gerda Steyn who is currently based in Dubai also had a fantastic month of January open her season with a 10km race at the Super Sports Night Run. Steyn brought home the victory in a time of 32:33 despite her being in a heavy training phase and being just 9 seconds off her PB time of 32:24 much to her surprise. Steyn has her sight set on the Rak Half Marathon which is known as “the world’s fastest half marathon” which will take place at the Al Marjan Island on the 19th of February. One can expect a massive performance from Steyn as she competes amongst some of the greatest runners in the world.


Phatutshedzo Maswanganyi currently based in the USA at the University of Houston had mixed start to the season. Maswanganyi experienced the disappointment of a false start in his opening competition for his new university at the Aggie Invitational, Gilliam Indoor Track Meet in the 60m race. He redeemed himself with a win in the 200m in a time of 21.36 seconds. A week later he would step out to race at H-Town SpeedCity Series Meet 2 again taking on the double of the indoor 60m and 200m where he would go on to win the 60m in a PB time of 6.64 seconds as well as a finish second in the 200m in a PB time of 21.10 seconds.


George Kusche also based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in America, made history becoming the first ever athlete to become a Big Ten Champion for the University after winning the 8km (8000m) race in the Cross-Country event. Kusche won the 8km individual in a time of 24:01.2 in what was a nervy finish, but he managed to hold on for the victory. Kusche has become a trailblazer for the Huskers both on the track and cross country, with achievements that have his name recorded in the Universities record books.


In general it was a great month for south Africans and hopefully it continues to go this way. One thing is for certain everyone can’t wait for Track & Field, Road Running and Cross Country to be Back in SA! Let’s see what the month of February will have in store for SA athletes.


Photo Credit: Lydia Asplin


Written by Themba Madima


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