All eyes will be on ultra-distance athlete Mthunzi Mnisi when he targets his fifth straight national title at the 2019 ASA 50km Race Walking Championships, to be held at the University of Pretoria sports grounds in Tshwane on Saturday, 16 November.
Mnisi, who won the SA title for the fourth time in Cape Town last year, will spearhead host province Athletics Gauteng North (AGN) after being included in the final entry lists this week.
Facing a relatively small field in the men's 50km race, Mnisi's strongest opposition could come from Aaron Mahlangu of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA), who earned the silver medal at last year's event.
Zelda Schultz, who won the women's 50km title for the second time last season, will compete in the inter-provincial 20km race, ensuring there will be a new national champion over the 50km distance.
In her absence, Fundiswa Sandi of Western Province Athletics (WPA) is likely to line up as the favourite for the women's 50km crown.
In the men's inter-provincial 20km race, a battle is expected to be fought between perennial rivals Lebogang Shange of Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA), who has struggled with injury this season and Wayne Snyman (AGN), who has displayed superb form this year.
Aside from the ASA 50km Race Walking Championships, which starts promptly at 6am, the showpiece includes inter-provincial events across a wide range of distances in all age groups.
“We are looking forward to this year’s addition of the championship as this specialised event holds the potential for medals for the Rainbow Nation at World Athletics where Japan has proved to be dominant.
“This weekend is important as it comes shortly after the ASA Council Meeting (19 October) where we reported that South Africa is now looking at learning from the Japanese through collaboration so that we can improve drastically in race walking,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa. “