South African stars to chase Ethiopian runners in Gqeberha

South African stars to chase Ethiopian runners in Gqeberha

South Africa’s road runners are on a mission to stop Ethiopian stars from winning the Spar Ladies Women’s 10km Grand Prix leg on Saturday.

Irvette Van Zyl, Glenrose Xaba, Kesa Molotsane, Taylor Kavanagh, and Cacisile Sosibo have set thier sights on taming the Ethopian contigency of Tadu Nare and Salem Gabre from dominating the race in Gqeberha this weekend.

Hiyane Lama of Ethiopia won the Cape Town leg on her debut in 33:42, beating compatriot Gabre (33:34) at the Green Point Stadium last month. But, will miss the race in the Friendly City this weekend due to personal commitments. 

Xaba was the first South African to cross the finish line in 34:05 for third, followed by Molotsane in fourth place, while Sosibo secured fifth in the previous race. 

Defending champion Nare missed the race as she participated in the London Marathon where she finished eight.  

Nare won the Grand Prix titles in 2021 and 2023 and is the overwhelming favourite to complete a hat trick of titles. 

Van Zyl will run her first race in the Hollywoodbets Running Club colours and told 

SABC Sport her focus is to finish the race on the podium.

“I have recovered from an ankle injury and have not run since December. But I feel confident and ready for the challenge in Gqeberha, and I am looking forward to running my first race and knowing what to expect against the talented Ethiopians. If we work together as a team, we can upset them (Ethiopian).”

After leading for much of the race in Cape Town Xaba surrendered the lead to Lama in the last 2kms and blamed her third-place finish on fatigue. 

“In Cape Town, I could not get over the line. But I am rested and ready to push them again. If I stick to my game plan, I can win the race,” said Xaba.

Sosibo works with one of the best coaches in the country Michael Seme and says they have been working on improving her performance in the series.

“Nothing is impossible in life. We can win the race as South Africans if we work together. We have another opportunity to test ourselves against the Ethiopians in Gqeberha. I am confident that one local run can win the race,” Sosibo told SABC Sport

Molotsane said they would use the second leg of the race in the Eastern Cape to close the gap between them and the Ethiopians.

“The foreign runners help us to run fast times, but we can close the gap at the weekend and hopefully win the race.”

The Ethiopians Nare and Salem are the favourites to fill the first two places on the podium, but the South African runners are prepared to push them all the way.