clinch double victory in the 3rd Southern Region Cross Country Championships
Reynolds Quirin for IAAF
6 March 1999. Zimbabwe clinched a double victory on Saturday when Kudakwashi Shoko and Samkeliso Moyo won the Southern Region Cross Country Championships at Candos Hill. Shoko ran the 10.5km in an excellent 30:56 whilst his fellow countrywoman clocked 17 minutes flat for the 5.1 km race.
"This is an authentic cross country track, with a slope on the flank of the hill," said all the Team Mangers a day before the race. "It's not like at the World Cross Country Championships, with obstacles. It's just natural."
Effectively, it was a quite difficult track, and justified apprehension from all the athletes for the big slope on the flank of the hill. Yet, this did not discourage them to set a high pace from the start of the race, both for women and men.
In the men's event, 10.5 km long, Kudakwashi Shoko, Virmai Zhuwawo (Zimbabwe), Kabo Gabaseme (Botswana), Percy Sephooa (Lesotho) and Jean-Louis Prianon (Reunion Island) took the lead from the gun.
After some 15 minutes, this little group took some two hundred metres over the rest of the pack. They maintained their lead and it was in the last kilometre that Kudakwashi Shoko broke away to take the tape. Percy Sephooa of Lesotho came second with 31:05 followed by Kabo Gabaseme in 31:14.
"I knew that I've a bad finish. It was imperative to make the break early so as to avoid a final sprint with Sephooa, who is a better sprinter than I. I'm very happy with this victory. It's my first big one, you know," said Kudakwashi Shoko after the race.
"At the beginning, I was a little bit afraid of this track because of the slope. But this did not stop me from going fast from the very outset," explained the new champion.
For Samkeliso Moyo, who is a very experienced runner, things were much easier in the women's event. She set a high pace from the very beginning of the race that was difficult for the young athletes from the Republic of South Africa to follow.
Moyo, who came tenth in the World Cross Championships last year in Marrakech, Morocco, was never in danger in this very rapid race where she easily dominated all her opponents to clock a good 17:00.
The precocious South African Linda Roets, who is only 15, came second with 17:23, followed by her compatriot, Yolandi Noeff (17:27).
In the team Championships, South Africa was, by far, the strongest having an easy victory in both the women's and men's competitions. "We sent a young team with an average age of 16 to this Championship and this constitutes nearly 90% of the junior team for the World Cross Championship of Belfast, in Great Britain, at the end of this month," Quinton Arendse South African team manager explained.
WOMEN - 5.1 km
1. Samkeliso Moyo ZIM 17:00
2. Linda Roets RSA 17:23
3. Yolandi Noeff RSA 17:27
4. Siphulwazi Sibindi ZIM 17:46
5. Tonia Carsten RSA 17:54
6. Liz-Marie Venter RSA 18:00
7. Catherine Maapela RSA 18:51
8. Priscilla Mamba SWA 19:02
9. Keamogeste Rancholo BOT 19:12
10. Marie-Yvonne Rivière REU 19:13
MEN - 10.5 km
1. Kudakwashi Shoko ZIM 30:56
2. Percy Sephooa LES 31:05
3. Kabo Gabaseme BOT 31:14
4. Jean-Louis Prianon REU 31:17
5. Retere Sentso LES 31:24
6. Jeffrey Gwebu RSA 31:29
7. Virimai Zhuwawo ZIM 31:37
8. Menon Ramsamy MRI 31:51
9. Sivuyile Hlongwane RSA 31:57
10. Sipho Dlamini SWA 32:20
1. Republic of South Africa 16 points
2. Reunion Island 47 points
3. Botswana 54 points
4. Mauritius 85 points
1. Republic of South Africa 42 points
2. Botswana 44 points
3. Reunion Island 64 points
4. Mauritius 66 points