Series plan to lure school kids

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Athletics Mpumalanga plans to use the Nedbank Matha Series in KaNyamazane near Nelspruit on April 5 to lure school children into the sport as part of their mass mobilisation campaign.

"We are naturally excited that the series is also coming to our area," said Booki Gama, the provincial road running commission convener and a member of the local organising committee for the series.

"It is part of our development programme in the province and we thank Athletics South Africa for bringing it to our shores. Rubbing shoulders with some of the big-name runners will definitely inspire our youngsters to take road running seriously.

"There is a lot of money involved in road running unlike in the past where people used to run for only R100 to win the race. We have talent in abundance in Mpumalanga, the interest is growing following the successes of people such as Josia Thugwane and Sipho Ngomane.

"We are targeting schools. There is no future for athletics if we neglect schools. The plan is to see school children being part of the clubs in their townships, villages and suburbs," said Gama.

ASA have put aside a total of R202000 for the prizes, which will see the first man and woman in the half- marathon going home with R20000 each. There will also be a 10km and 5km fun run.

Athletics Mpumalanga president Ben Makola said: "We have already started distributing the entry forms in Witbank, Secunda, Middleburg and other major towns in Mpumalanga."