Mokoka leads team to Poland

23 March 2010 - 02:00
By Ramatsiyi Moholoa

MIDDLE-distance runner Stephen Mokoka is primed for success at the 38th edition of the yearly World Cross-Country in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Sunday.

He is geared up for stiff opposition from the mighty Kenyans and Ethiopians. A sports management student at the Pretoria campus of the Tshwane University of Technology, Mokoka finished a credible eighth in the senior men's race in the same event in Amman, Jordan, last year.

"I have been training hard and I'm looking forward to a great race in Poland," said Mokoka, who won bronze at the 2007 World Student Games in the 10000m in Thailand.

"The team we are taking to Poland will make us proud. Cross country has been monopolised by the Ethiopians and Kenyans, we are learning from them and it's good we have Kenyan coach {Danson Muchoki} guiding us. He has been with us for some time and we are starting to see local athletes doing well globally."

The team will compete in all four divisions, which include the senior men's (12km), senior women's (8km), junior men's (8km) and junior women's (6km) races. Other top athletes in the Poland-bound team include Phalula twins Lebo and Lebohang, Tebogo Masehla, Xolisa Tyali and Marelise Retief.

Senior men's team: Lungisa Mdadelwa, Mokoka, Xolisa Tyali, Kgosi Tsosane, Gladwin Mzazi and Siyabonga Nkonde.

Senior women's team: Lebo Phalula, Lebogang Phalula, Petronella Thomas, Ntombisintu Mfunzi, Tebogo Masehla and Marelise Retief.

Junior men's team: Vuyisile Tshoba, Lucas Bothobutle, Sityhilo Diko, Joel Mohau Mmonne, Wiseman Mfumaneko Fadane and Pieter Wilders.

Junior women's team: Letitia Saayman, Sylvia Kedireng Tshetlanyane, Thato Makhafola, Mamphielo Sibanda, Ashleigh Schnetler and Juan Marie Cooper.

Management: Blanche Moila (head of delegation), Andre Gobey (manager), Danson Muchoki (coach) and Tumelo Komane (physiotherapist).