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Three stars in challenge for Grand Prix honours

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Three SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races down, three to go and the battle for the SPAR Grand Prix title is hotting up.

However, the Pretoria Challenge at Supersport Park on Saturday afternoon gives one of the front-runners an ideal opportunity to stake a claim to the Grand Prix title and the prize money of R173 000.

There have been different winners in each of the three races so far, but the most consistent performer has been Kesa Moletsane, who won the Port Elizabeth Challenge. Moletsane, who is famous for her ‘kick’ in the dying stages of a race, has a lead of 21 points after finishing second in Cape Town and in Durban.

Better known as a track runner, Moletsane has proved she has what it takes on the road as well, and is expected to finish in the top three in Pretoria.

The defending Grand Prix champion, Irvette van Zyl, who had to drop out of the Durban race after four kilometres because of an injury, is back to full fitness and is expected to do well in a race she used to call her own. She finished third in Cape Town and second in Port Elizabeth, and will be seeking to improve her Grand Prix standing.

Rutendo Nyahora won the Pretoria race in 2015 and 2016, and would like to make it three in a row.  The 2015 Grand Prix winner Lebogang Phalula, who started quietly this year, appears to be back in good form. Her twin sister, Diana-Lebo, who won the Grand Prix in 2014, had a baby a few months ago.

Two top runners, Mapaseka Makhanya and Jenna Challenor, will miss the Pretoria race because they are representing South Africa in the marathon at the World Championships in London next week.

Two of this year’s winners, Louisa Laballo, who won in Cape Town, and Tish Jones, who won in Durban, will not be taking part in the Pretoria Challenge.

Leballo has been hit with an eight-year ban and ccording to Drug-Free Sport, has been suspended for four years after testing positive for EPO and another four years for undermining the doping control process

Picture of Molotsane courtesy of Reg Caldecott