Molotsane causes major upset at SA cross-country trials

The Free State long distance ace, Kesa Molotsane (Kovsies), caused a major upset when she won the SA cross-country trials in Pretoria for the second year in succession. Here she is on her way to clinch the victory over the more fancied Olympian, Dominique Scott-Efurd (Western Province). PHOTO: PIERRE JACOBS

The iron-woman of Free State middle- and long-distance running, Kesa Molotsane (Kovsies), caused what can only described as a major upset when she showed the South African representative in the 10 000 m at the 2016 Olympic Games (Rio de Janeiro), Dominique Scott-Efurd (Western Province), a clean pair of heels in Pretoria on Saturday at the SA cross-country trials.

Molotsane repeated the victory she claimed at the same trials in Bloemfontein in 2018.

With Scott-Efurd’s vast international experience, it was unthinkable that she would be beaten by any fellow South African on Saturday, but the stubborn (when it comes to racing) Molotsane did not let the more fancied Scott-Efurd get the better of her psychologically or physically.

Scott-Efurd boasts a best time of 31:51,47, which she set for her 12th place at the mentioned Rio Olympics, and is the SA indoor record holder in the 3000 m (8:54,06), to mention only two of her major international achievements. She studied at Arkansas (USA) where she obtained a degree in marketing in 2015.

Up to approximately seven kilometres of the 10-km race, Molotsane and Scott-Efurd were still dishing out surges to attempt to give the final knock-out, but it was Molotsane who had the last say between seven and eight kilometres.

She told Bloemfontein Courant: “After the seven-kilometer mark, I attempted a final breakaway and thought if Dominique wants to beat me, she will have to counter my increase in pace. I made a gap and ran hard for home. Fortunately my tactics worked and I could beat her at the end”, the humble Molotsane added.

The Free State athlete won in 37:25, with Scott-Efurd trailing by eight seconds, crossing the line in 37:33. Janet Mbele (KZN, 38:12) was well off the pace in third place.

In the senior men’s race (10 km), yet another Kovsie (Qwaqwa campus), Pakiso Mthembu, finished in a respectable third place in a time of 31:16. Considering that he is now only in his first year as senior athlete, his performance predicts a great future for this highly talented long- distance runner.

Mthembu finished only 22 and 14 seconds respectively behind the winner, Precious Masehle (Central Gauteng, 30:54), and second placed Rantso Mokopane (Central North West, 31:02).

The Free State’s junior men (8 km) and junior women (6km) found the going tough and could not place among the top three in any of the mentioned races. – RUFUS BOTHA