SA road stars shine over long weekend

Updated: April 18, 2017

​Road athletes dominated a long weekend packed with fine performances, as the nation’s elite competitors turned out in various contests around the world.
On Saturday, Lebogang Shange stepped on the podium at the IAAF Race Walking Challenge in Taicang, China.
Shange took third place in 1:23:45, crossing the line 1:29 behind Brazilian Caio Bonfim, who was fourth at last year’s Rio Olympics, in the men’s 20km race.
Elsewhere, in Cape Town, marathon runner Lungile Gongqa won the Old Mutual Two Oceans 56km ultra-distance contest.
Gongqa completed the race in 3:09:43 to earn the first SA victory in the men’s race in four years.
Maryna Damantsevich of Belarus controlled the women’s race from start to finish to bag the title in 3:37:13, despite falling and scraping her knees at the start.
Local marathon specialist Jenna Challenor, making her Two Oceans debut, ran a well-judged race to finish second in 3:47:32.
Namakoe Nkhasi of Lesotho set a course record of 1:03:15 to win the men’s half-marathon, and Irvette van Zyl successfully defended her title in the women’s event in 1:13:53.
On Monday, at the 121st edition of the Boston Marathon, wheelchair racer Ernst van Dyk carried the SA flag once again.
Van Dyk, a record 10-time winner at the race, grabbed second spot behind Swiss athlete Marcel Hug, the defending champion, in a tightly contested sprint for the line.
Hug clocked a new world best of 1:18:03 on the downhill course, with the veteran South African finishing just one second off the pace in a career best.
Meanwhile, on the track, sprinter Ncincilili Titi won the men’s 200m race in 20.14 seconds at the Gamecock Invite collegiate meeting in Columbia, South Carolina.
Titi, a World Student Games relay bronze medallist, finished 0.18 ahead of former world junior 100m champion Kendal Williams of the United States, taking 0.27 off his personal best set in Pretoria in April 2014.