Backtrack A.O.W (Athlete of the week): Stephen Mokoka
We are once again graced with some great performances from SA athletes both locally and internationally this week.
Here’s a look a some of the nominees:
- Ryan Mphahlele is once again on the nominees list this time for clocking a PB on the 1500m at the ACNW Championships. King Ryan ran a new PB of 3:39.57 proving once again that he is the men to beat over the 1500m/mile. This will be a good confidence booster and indicator of the shape he is in before heading to Denmark for the World Cross Country Championships. One thing is sure his times will get faster once his focus is fully back on track after the World Cross Country Championships.
- Carina Viljoen is another of the young generation of athletes who are performing well under the American University system. Viljoen ran a time of 4:38 on the indoor mile to finish in 5th place and thus qualifying for All-American honors which is a big deal for Collegiate athletes in America. We’ll be keeping a close eye on her progress this season as she transitions to outdoor racing.
- Thapelo Phora opened his 400m season with a time of 45.75 seconds at the AGN League in Pretoria, Pilditch Stadium. Phora has been one of the more consistent 400m runners in the past few seasons and this year looks like it will be a special one. The target for 2019 will certainly be run sub 45 seconds as he has proved more than cable of running 45 seconds on back-to-back races and so far everything looks in his favour for fast times.
- Collen Mulaudzi was in action in Morocco over the 10km on the road and he put in a solid display. Mulaudzi missed out of running at the ASA Cross Country Trials for the World Cross Country Championships in Denmark due to injury but he seems to be back and looking good for a full season of racing.
- Gerda Steyn participated at the Edenvale Half Marathon (21.1km) and she ran a time of 1:17.11 in what seemed like a routine run for a runner accustomed to the much longer runs.
But the Athlete of the Week goes to Stephen Mokoka! Mokoka has over the past few years transitioned away from the track and focused more on the road and it is transition that seems to have happened smoothly. Mokoka competed at the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan and he finished in an impressive 3rd place with a brilliant time of 2:07:58. Mokoka’s consistent top-level performance on the track, cross country and road in the past years are admirable and he is a true ambassador of middle/long distance running and worthy of the A.O.W award.
Well done to all the nominees. Keep shining
Written by Themba Madima