Two Bloemfontein based athletes, Godfrey Ramakone (Eskom) and Kesa Molotsane (Kovsies), were crowned as the respective Free State cross country champions in the 10km for senior men and senior women in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Ramakone, a former world junior cross country athlete, ran the perfect tactical race to clinch the title. During the first half he was coasting with four athletes and then increased the pressure. With a gradual increase in pace, Ramakone left them well behind to win in 32:07.
He was followed 13 seconds later by one of the pre-race favourites, Zwene Moreng (Transnet, 32:20). Jonas Soke (CUT, 32:43) crossed the line way off the pace in third spot.
Molotsane was in a class of her own and won the 10km for women in an excellent 36:22.
She beat the silver medallist, Annah Moeketsi (Transnet), by one of the biggest (if not the biggest ever) margins the Free State cross country championships has ever experienced.
She left Moeketsi (42:27) behind by more than six minutes. Dimakatso Mosia (Eskom, 43:03), who finished third, stood no chance against Molotsane either.
The 4km for senior men saw a much closer affair with Welkom-based Treasure Derison (Eskom) taking honours in a neat 12:22. He was closely followed by Xolisa Quliso (Goldfields, 12:26) and Malefetsane Motloung (Sasolburg, 12:28).
Regina Thukane (CUT) won the 4km event for women comfortably in 16:14. She was followed by the blind world record holder in the 5000m (T-11-category), Louzanne Coetzee and her guide, Khothatso Mokone, with a respectable time of 17:19. Dimakatso Mahao (Real Lions, 18:29) pocketed the bronze medal in a slow 18:12.
One of the better performances of the day was produced by the winner of the 4km for men 22 years, Mongezi Vesile (Sasolburg). He made gold his own in fine style in a quick 12:01. This is 22 seconds faster than Derison’s winning time in the mentioned senior men’s race. Manual Rampalang (Riebeeckstad, 12:41) and Felix Nomzana (12:43) followed suit, but way behind Vesile.
Esmarie Coetzee (Welkom Gimnasium) and Samantha Pelzer (Kovsies) had an interesting dual in the 4km in the women 22-year age group. Pelzer started off fast, but Coetzee kept her cool to win in 17:30. Pelzer (17:37) finished seven seconds behind Coetzee with Christa Strydom (Retief High School, 18:07) third in 18:07. – RUFUS BOTHA