Vaal pair upbeat about victory at games

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

BANGKOK - Up-and-coming South African middle distance runner Mzazi Sibabalwa is upbeat about grabbing a medal at the 24th World Student Games at the Thammasat University Sports Complex here tonight.

The talkative 19-year-old Vaal University of Technology student will take part in the 10000m final where he will represent the South African Student Sports Union team along with Stephen Mokoka.

"I was worried about the heat when we first landed here two weeks ago, but it's a bit cool at night," said the ginger-haired Sibabalwa, of Joubertina in North West, at a light training session yesterday.

"Besides it being my first World Student Games, it will also be my first appearance at an athletics international meeting and I'm looking forward to it.

"We all know that South Africa has not come up with a quality 10000m runner since Hendrick Ramaala moved to the marathons. This is a perfect opportunity for me to follow in his footsteps.

"For me, the colour of the medal is not important, as long as I can get something to show off on my arrival back home. I have been having some nightmares in the build-up to the race but our coach Bra Sponge (Michael Seme) has been supportive."

Mokoka, 22, said: "It will be a tough, but Mzazi and I will come up with a plan to make the race easier for ourselves. We know each other well because we study at the same university.

"There are a number of Kenyan athletes who are here but, unlike in the senior sections where they have been dominating along with the Ethiopians, we expect opposition from the Russians and Asians."

lRamatsiyi Moholoa is in Thailand as a guest of Sassu.