Malinga does it in style

Amos Khotha

Amos Khotha

Harmony Athletics Club runner Graham Malinga won the maiden Xstrata Phola Half-Marathon in Ogies, Mpumalanga, on Saturday.

The race was sanctioned by The Ogies Development Initiative and financed by Xtrata and Murray and Roberts. It was the first development event to be staged in Phola township near Emalahleni.

The race, which had good support despite chilly weather, started and ended at the local Mabande Comprehensive School.

Veteran Malinga covered the testing course in 1 hour 09 min 10 seconds and was closely followed by Atlanta marathon gold medallist Josiah Thugwane in 1:09:37.

Moses Mashiane of Eskom Gijima grabbed third place 13 seconds later (1:09:50). Malinga stayed with the group of leaders for almost the entire race until he forged ahead at the 19km mark on his way to the finishing line.

Eunice Nhlapo of Eskom Gijima scooped the women's category in 1:20:00. Linah Mhlongo of Harmony came second in 1:23:50, while Precious Tshabalala of Gijima was third in 1.30.00.