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Mokoka, Khatala eye glory in Cape Town 12km

Lesotho rising star firm favourite in women field

Stephen Mokoka.
Stephen Mokoka.
Image: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Stephen Mokoka and Lesotho’s rising star, Neheng Khatala will be heading to Cape Town for the Absa Cape Town 12K CITYRUN on November 21.

Mokoka won the Cape Town race in 2016, clocking 33:34 and he is eager to repeat that time. “I will be very happy to run 33:30 in Cape Town,” said the runner-up of the 2021 Absa Durban 10K CITYRUN, which took place last month. “I know Morris [Gachaga] and Daniel [Simiu Ebenyo] will be coming and that they are targeting the world best for the race [33:27], but for me, I will be happy with 33:30. I want to go through 10km in about 28:05 or 28:10. That will give me a 33:30. If I can get that, then I know I will be in with a chance for the win.”

Mokoka has learned to pick his races over the years, and freely admits that at the age of 36, he cannot race as much as he used to. So, his appearance at the Absa Cape Town 12K CITYRUN, will have been well planned and he will be on top form when he arrives in the Mother City.

Khatala will make her 12km debut after finishing runner up to Tayla Kavanagh in the women’s Durban 10K CITYRUN last month. Khatala ran a massive personal best in finishing second, clocking 32:18 behind Kavanagh's 32:10. The Lesotho athlete took just over a minute off her previous best (33:21) which she had run in Gqeberha on October 9.

It has been quite a year for Khatala. In May, she qualified for the Olympic Marathon, running 2:28.06 (a national record) in Cape Town, before finishing 20th in Tokyo in 2:33.15. 

Now she will line up as one of the favourites, if not the favourite, in Cape Town. “It will be the first time I run a 12km,” said Khatala.

“So, I am hoping to do well. I will run as fast as I can and hope the ladies will also push so we can run a fast time.”

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