Soke building momentum for major races

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Winning the Southern Region's cross-country 12km race in Malawi three weeks ago was enough motivation for Boy Soke to win the 5 000m in the Yellow Pages Ultimate Athletics series in Stellenbosch on Friday.

Now the 24-year-old Welkom-based runner, a student at the University of Free State, reckons his success in Stellenbosch has also put him in the right frame of mind for the South African senior track and field championships in Durban on March 16 and 17.

Soke said he was looking beyond the Durban event because his aim was also to impress at the World Cross-Country Championships in Kenya on March 24.

"I'm happy to have won today and am now more determined to succeed in Durban," said Soke, who won in 13min:43,41sec.

He came second in the same series in Oudtshoorn and Port Elizabeth.

"I'm eager to win in Durban to enable me to qualify for the world championships. I will not relax on my laurels, but I'm prepared to work hard to ensure that I make my mark in athletics this year."

Athletes should take part in at least two Yellow Pages meets in their specialist events, plus in the South African senior track and field championships to qualify for the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, in August.

Soke overtook early pacesetter Mbongeni Ngxazozo with four laps to go and never looked back. Lusapho April came second and Ngxazozo finished third .

Crowd favourite Mbulaeni Mulaudzi disappointed his fans when he finished 12th in the 800m. Charles Jantjies won the race in 1:50,05 followed by Samson Ngoepe and Johan Cronje .

Other results:

Men's 1 500m - 1. Johan Cronje; 2. Juan van Deventer; 3. Tshamano Setone.

Men's 400m - 1. Sidwell Mithi; 2. Jan van der Merwe; 3. Ruben Majola.

Men's 200m - 1. Morne Nagel; 2. Christian Krone; 3. Leigh Julius.

Men's 3000m steeplechase - 1. Ruben Ramolefi; 2. Dicardo Jacobs; 3. Thuso Phaswana .

Women's 1 500m - 1. Agnes Samaria; 2. Rene Kalmer; 3. Mapaseka Makhanya.

Women's 200m - 1. Geraldine Pillay; 2. Cindy Stewart; 3. Estie Wittstock.