South Africa Dominates Remo 2019 IAU African Championship
South Africa yesterday beat over 30 African countries to win both the men and women categories of the maiden Valuejet IAU African Championship at Remo town in Ogun State.
The 50-kilometer Ultra-Race Championships, with the start and finish point at Sagamu International Stadium, saw South Africa’s Thobile Mbolekwa finishing in a time of three hours two seconds to clinch first place in the male category.
Zimbabwe’s Prosper Mutwira finished in the second position at 3:05:25, while Nigeria’s Ilya Pam Mwa finished third at 3:12:39.
In the women category, South Africa’s Sanelisiwe Mbanjwa came first in a time of 3:04:45 to beat Nigeria’s Elizabeth Nuhu Power to the second position (3:47:29), while South Africa’s Leilani Scheffer finished third in 3:48:01.
Speaking on his feat, Mbolekwa said he was pleased to win the competition for South Africa, adding that he had to train hard to prepare and finish first despite the cramp challenge he had on his leg while running.
“I feel very good to represent South Africa to win the ultra-race. There was a challenge as I suffered cramps on the road… I had to pull back and then apply ice on my leg. When I recovered from the cramp, I had to maintain my pace and pushed further to overtake the Nigerian runner, who was taking the lead at 30km,” he said.
Nigeria’s Pam Mwa said it wasn’t easy being a policeman and practicing for the race, adding, however, that he was motivated by the need to stop foreigners from clinching the prize in Nigeria and taking it to their countries.
“I am a Nigerian policeman and I feel comfortable even though this is my first time running 50km race.
“Since Nigeria was hosting it, I decided to participate because I have had enough of foreigners coming to win the prizes and taking it to their countries. I had to push them from the beginning up till 30km before they overtook me unfortunately and I kept my pace and finished third.
“It is not easy for a Nigerian policeman to do this thing because you have to be on duty and at the same time practice for the race.
“I appreciate the Inspector General of Police, who has been encouraging me. I traveled to represent the Nigerian Police in China at the World Police Games, where I came third.
“From there I picked up that motivation to compete with foreigners in Nigerian competitions,” he said.