ASA sends untested team to champs

STEPHEN Mokoka was reluctant to predict how the senior men's team would fare after an inexperienced squad was named by Athletics South Africa (ASA) on Wednesday for the World Cross Cross Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland on March 28.

STEPHEN Mokoka was reluctant to predict how the senior men's team would fare after an inexperienced squad was named by Athletics South Africa (ASA) on Wednesday for the World Cross Cross Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland on March 28.

"We really can't predict how the team will do because it's winter over there and we've been told that it's cold and raining a lot," Mokoka said.

"Sometimes your body feels good when you arrive at the race but then things don't go well for you, so all I can say is that we'll have to see how it goes on the day."

Mokoka, 25, was second behind Boy Soke at the Southern Region Cross Country Championships in Mauritius last month. South Africa swept the top five places in the senior men's race.

Soke will not compete in Bydgoszcz while Mokoka will be competing in his third global cross country championships.

"We worked as a team in Mauritius and it worked for us," he said, "so if we can do the same next weekend, it should work again."

He has been in impressive form this season, having clocked 13:27.22 over 5 000m in Port Elizabeth last month. Two weeks later he paced the field through the 25km mark at the Lake Biwa marathon in Otsu Japan - where South African Hendrick Ramaala finished 11th - before Mokoka dropped out according to the pre-race plan.

The senior women's team is led by in-form siblings Lebogang and Lebo Phalula who were 29th and 39th respectively in Amman, Jordan.

Tebogo Masehla, the SA 3 000m steeplechase record holder, hopes to improve on her 74th position in last year's 8km race, while Marelise Retief brings more experience to the six-member team in her third global cross country champs. - Sapa

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