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Lungisa leads charge

By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s men outshone their female counterparts in the IAAF World Half-marathon Championships run in Nanning, China on Saturday.

Spearheaded by Lungisa Mdedelwa’s 16th place, they ended fifth in the men’s team competition, their first three runners clocking a combined time of 3hr 09min 53sec.

The predictable winners were Kenya in 3:01:32 with individual winner Wilson Kiprop dethroning five time winner Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea in a thrilling finish.

Kiprop was timed at 60:07 and Tadese was just four seconds slower.

Eleven teams contested the men’s division.

The women’s race saw Florence Jebet Kiplagat make it a double gold day for Kenya as she won in 68:24 and beat Ethiopia’s Dire Tune by 10 seconds.

For Team South Africa’s women runners it wasn’t a great day as the in-form Irvette van Blerk had an off-day of note.

Going into the race with a best of 70:09, the Gauteng athlete could only manage a return of 84:52 with just Thozama April of the SA team finishing behind her. It was a disappointing run for Van Blerk who has dominated the local road running circuit this year.

Best of our women runners in Nanning was Louisa Leballo who took 31st place in 75:11.

Leballo, Zintle Ziniwe and Mpho Mabuza were our top three finishers, combining for a time of 3:50:36 — ninth out of 10 teams, Kenya coming out tops again.

SA results

Lungisa Mdedelwa 62:58, Samuel Segoaba 63:09, Boy Soke 63:46, Xolani Ntongana 63:49,Sibusiso Nzima 67:26

Louisa Leballo 75:11, Zintle Xiniwe 76:21, Mpho Mabuza 79:24, Irvette van Blerk 84:52, Thozama April 86:48