JOHANNESBURG – Charles Tjiane has no doubt that South Africa will reign supreme at the IAU 50km World Championships taking place in Romania in September.
“We’ve got a very strong squad,” he said yesterday. “We will definitely win the team prize.”
Tjiane is not far off the mark for the six men that Nick Beater and Xolani Mabhida will be leading at the global race on Spring Day (September 1) are pedigreed and highly decorated runners who will being the best out of each other in competition.
Tjiane himself is a fantastic 50km runner, his three successive triumphs at the Loskop Dam Ultra of the same distance bearing testimony to his prowess. Add the three-time Comrades Marathon champion Bongmusa Mthembu, who won the 56km Two Oceans Marathon in April to the mix and you already can tell South Africa mean business. Mthembu has, after all, proven himself at the world champs with a second place finish in the 100km in Croatia last year.
David Gatebe, Edward Mothibi, Joseph Manyedi and Lungile Gongqa make up the rest of the squad.
Tjiane was in the SA team that ran at the 100km championships in Spain back in 2016 and is relishing putting himself to the test against international opposition in the shorter distance. And being a pretty speedy runner he will be more at home in the 50km run.
And unlike in 2016 when the call came three weeks before the event, he is glad there is more time to get ready this time around.
“I am well rested after Comrades and there is now enough time to prepare. I was disappointed with my showing at Comrades (29th) because I had really trained for it. Now this call up gives me a chance to redeem myself a bit."