By Mark Etheridge
African Games champion Lebogang Shange has added the national 20-kilometre walk title to his already impressive list of 2015 titles.
And Anel Oosthuizen, who narrowly missed out on a medal in Brazzaville, Congo was crowned national women’s 20km champion at the Youngsfield Military Base in Cape Town.
Shange (wearing vest No250) strode to victory in a time of 1hr 30min 59sec, the 25-year-old Gauteng athlete comfortably beating KwaZulu-Natal’s Sizwe Ndebele into second spot (1:31:13).
Another member of Team South Africa in Congo, Mthembi Chauque, took the bronze in 1:32.28.
Oosthuizen, pictured right, was timed at 1:43.26 which put her 1:44 ahead of KZN’s Zelda Schultz.
For the young University of Johannesburg teaching student, the Championships were the first time she’d walked the 20km distance at a national event. ‘This was my last race for the season so I went out with the aim of enjoying myself. The event was fantastically organised by WP Athletics and it’s always great to be at an event like this because all the country’s top walkers get together this one time a year,’ she told Road to Rio 2016.
‘Once again this year there were development teams entered and it seems that every year they just take a person’s breath away with the amount of talent on show.’
What’s next up for Oosthuizen? ‘My training to try and qualify for the Rio Olympics next year will start soon, so while the races stop for a most the serious training starts. Next year is a big one to get read for. We’re going to try and get to about three international races early in the year. The race-walking World Cup is also coming up which will be held in Russia and hopefully South Africa will send a team.’
Shange and Oosthuizen were named best male and female senior walker of the Championships while Pierre Vermaak, a medal winner at last year’s African Youth Games in Botswana, was the Best Young Male Walker while Nolene van Rensburg was Best Young Female Walker.
Central Gauteng Athletics walked off with the most medals of the Championships, 33 in total, just two ahead of the host province (Western Province Athletics) while Athletics Gauteng North was third best with 26 medals.
Pictures of Shange and Oosthuizen supplied by ImageSA’s Roger Sedres