Thupeyo Muleya in Beitbridge
NKOSIYAZI Sibanda of Blanket Mine wrote himself a piece of history when he won the 19th edition of two countries marathon involving Zimbabwe and South Africa for the seventh time in a row at the weekend.
Sibanda and many other Zimbabweans continued to dominate the race which was held between Beitbridge (Zimbabwe) and Musina (South Africa) on Saturday morning.
Though the race started late under hot temperatures, Sibanda, who has become a common feature at this event, made his intention of winning it again when he took off at a high speed with top South African athletes, Peter Muthubi and Mutshutshu Munzhele in tow.
Sibanda romped to victory in 2 hours 27 minutes followed by Muthubi and Munzhele.
Kudakwashe Kanduna, who was the first runner-up last year, came home in fifth position this time around.
The marathon, which was simultaneously held with a half-marathon and a 10km road race, started at Nottingham turn-off, 10km outside Beitbridge along the Bulawayo road, and ended at Eric Louw High School in Musina, South Africa.
Both the half-marathon and 10km races started and finished at Eric Louw High School.
The two countries marathon is organised by South Africa’s Musina municipality and both local authorities from Beitbridge as part of celebrating the twining agreement which was signed in 1996.
Lanky female athlete, Lizy Chikoore of Zimbabwe also lifted her country’s flag high after she came victorious in the women’s category of the marathon after romping to victory in 3 hours followed by South Africans Gladys Lukwareni and Joyce Netshifhefhe who came home second and third positions respectively.
The reigning Beitbridge mayor’s half-marathon champion Elijah Mutandiro added colour to the event after winning the marathon’s Veterans’ category while Patrick Chipoyi came out the winner in the Masters’ section.
South Africa’s Jane Mdau was crowned the winner in the female Veterans’ category.
The winners in the marathon event received cash prizes of R7 000, R4 500 and R3 500 respectively for the top three athletes.
A total of 64 athletes, among them 21 Zimbabweans, took part in the main event.
In the half-marathon, the Zimbabwean duo of Wellington Varevi and Tawapo Bhiri won the men and women’s races respectively.
South Africa’s Bethel Netshifhefhe and Thomas Ngobeni dominated the male category in the Veterans and Masters races while their compatriot, Hilda Mdokomme, topped the female Masters’ category.
Zimbabwe’s Agness Masvosve won the women’s 21,1km Veteran’s race.
The top three in the half-marathon pocketed R3 000, R2 000 and R1 000 while those who took part in the 10km race received R1 000, R750 and R500 respectively.
South African athletes dominated all the categories in the 10km race.