Khotatso wins Round Naval Hill 10km

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RUFUS BOTHA

One of the foremost distance runners in the Free State, Khotatso Mokone (Kovsies), won the 65th edition of the Twizza Round Naval Hill 10km road race in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Yet another great piece of history became part of the Round Naval Hill statistics with Mokone’s victory. His coach and director of Kovsiesport, DB Prinsloo, won this race thirty years ago.

However, the 53-year-old Prinsloo was not present when Mokone crossed the line – he was still on the road at approximately the 6km mark on his way to the finish.

Mokone won in fine style in 30:58 whilst Prinsloo, who still jogs regularly, stopped his watch on 49:47.

When Prinsloo won the race 30 years ago (also in a Kovsies vest), he clocked 30:26, which is 32 seconds faster than Mokone. What was more difficult in the race which Prinsloo won was that it was run at 14:00 and at a temperature in the vicinity of 36 degrees Celsius.

Mokone took no prisoners on Saturday and with regular surges (his nickname is Surge) from as early as the 2km mark, he got rid of the pack to beat Emmanuel Mkhabela (Eskom, 31:10) into second place and Pule Hlabahlaba (Pentagon Pistols, 31:27) into the bronze medal position. Both Mkhabela and Hlabahlaba are former international athletes.

One of the best (if not the best) performances of the day was produced by the star walker from the Kovsies, Mthembi Chauke. Chauke, who is one of the country’s best race walkers clocked a magnificent time of 47:00. By the way, he beat Prinsloo (mentioned above) to the line. In the process he also finished way ahead of the majority of the other runners and this include the category winners for women 50- and 60-years plus.

In the women’s race it was one way traffic for Annah Moeketsi (Transnet) who won in a respectable inland time of 36:20. She beat fellow Kovsie, Maryna Swanepoel (38:45) with more than two minutes into second place. South Africa’s best biathlon athlete, the 37-year-old Teresa Richards (39:21) had to settle for third.

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