South Africa’s preparation for the World Cross Country Championships enters a crucial stage when some of South Africa’s leading cross Country athletes compete at the 34th Janmeda International Cross Country Championships in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday.
The annual event is coupled with the Ethiopia National Cross Country Championships, and serves as Ethiopia’s trials to select their team for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 30.
Marlise Nicolette Retief, Ledile Violet Raseboya and Nicoleen van Rooyen, both from Central Gauteng, will be vying for success in the women’s 8km, while Nandipha Patience Dywili and Pono Selina Mofokeng will sweat it out in the junior women’s 6km.
Over the years Ethiopia has welcomed the participation of athletes from other countries at the Janmeda Championship, where several countries are set to test their athletes ahead of the Eastern Africa Regional Cross Country Championships, in Arusha, Tanzania on February 24.
A day earlier, the South Africans will be in Lusaka, Zambia, for the Southern Region Cross Country Championships.
"This gives our athletes the opportunity to gauge their abilities against the best in the business. For over thirty years, Eastern Africa accounts for the bulk of the top twenty finishers in each race at the annual World Cross Country Championships," says Molatelo Malehopo, ASA Development Manager.
"We expect our athletes to show character. If they can give a decent account of themselves in Addis Ababa, then we can expect them to be competitive at the World Cross Country Championships next month," Malehopo explains.