South Africa: Big Day for Ethiopians At Soweto Marathon

    Ethiopia claimed the day at the Soweto Marathon on Sunday, with both the first placed man and woman hailing from the East African country.

    Daba Ifa Debele crossed the tape in a time of 2:18:58 to win the men’s race ahead of fellow countryman Gadisa Bekele. Chaltu Bedo Negashu clocked 2:40:56 to take top honours in the women’s category.

    Sibongile Tshabalala, who runs under the colours of Sibanye Stillwater, did South Africa proud by taking second spot in the women’s race, one minute and 6 seconds behind the winner but South African men fared less well.

    Tsepo Ramashamole from Lesotho took third, meaning no South African runners won a podium finish. Ntsindiso Mphakathi, who came in fifth position, was the first South African to cross the line.

    The historic race was making a return after being postponed for two years in a row due to Covid-19.

    With over 20,000 entrants, it was the biggest mass-participation event since 2020.

    The route went past eight significant heritage sites in Soweto, namely the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Walter Sisulu Square, The Regina Mundi Catholic Church, Credo Mutwa Cultural Village, Morris Isaacson High School & June 16 Memorial Acre, Vilakazi Street, and The Hector Pieterson Memorial.

    The race was not televised for the first time in 26 years.

    This happened despite Athletics South Africa (ASA) earlier this year signing a multi-million broadcast deal with Supersport to televise big athletics events like the Comrades Marathon, Cape Town Marathon, Two Oceans Marathon, and Soweto Marathon.

    But in the leadup to the race, Supersport announced on Friday that the event won’t make it onto their screens. Earlier, the organisers tried to negotiate with public broadcaster SABC to strike a deal to get the race televised but ASA threatened them saying they already had a deal in place with Supersport.

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