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Walking as competitive sport got a huge boost from professional walkers during the inaugural Sowetan Big Walk in Mapetla, Soweto, on Workers' Day.
Powered by Coca-Cola South Africa in association with the Loop En Val Athletics Club, Jozi FM and Johannesburg Water, the Sowetan Big Walk featured a 5km fun walk and a 10km challenge.
The professional walkers helped the 2000-plus crowd of ordinary and mostly first-time walkers with the finer points of this Olympic-status sport.
The professionalS led the way. It was clear that they wished to move as quickly as possible and achieve good times, while adhering to race-walking rules.
The following winners in several, different categories shared R10 000 in prize money and their individual and collective performances brought pride to the faces of Central Gauteng Athletics president Snowy Matthews and Loop en Val Athletics Club chairman Herbert "Pango" Makhale:
l For the open section, Men - Mojalefa Modise, Thami Hadebe and Thapelo Mofokeng;
l Open Women - Thembeka Khethekile, Siyabonga Phakathi and Matshediso Matladi.
l Veterans - Men: Trust Langa, Abraham Sonqishe and Johannes Moshe;
l Veterans - Women: Thembeka Khethekile, Mamsy Sibanyoni and Hlamalane Nyambi.
l Juniors - Men: Lebogang Shange and Sanele Mathonsi;
l Juniors - Women: Siyabonga Phakathi;
l Grandmaster - Men: John Moroka;
l And, pensioner - Hilda Makhene.