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Kekana confident of victory
Our Correspondent |
February 13, 2004 16:12 IST
All-Africa Games champion Johannes Kekana is the man to look out for in Sunday's Standard Chartered Mumbai International Marathon.
The South African has a best timing is 2.14:01 seconds, achieved at the Penninsula Marathon in Cape Town in 2002, and is raring to go. In fact, he is confident of winning the full marathon.
Asked about his chances, Kekana, who specializes in distance running, replied: "I can't say anything about the Mumbai marathon as I don't know the field yet and also haven't seen the course. However, the climate here is pretty cool and I should do well as I have been training for this event since three months."
Following his impressive showing at the All-Africa Games, in October 2003, where he finished over a minute clear of fancied Ethiopian runners Gashaw Mellese and Gudisa Shentema to win the men's marathon in 2:25:01 seconds, Kekana is certainly a good bet for honours in the full marathon.
"My fastest time was in the Peninsula marathon while the biggest win for me was the one at the African Games in Abuja [Nigeria] last year where I clocked two hours 25 minutes.
"However, my most memorable run was in the Prague marathon in 2003, where I started off last but still managed to finish seventh after overtaking most of the front runners," the 23-year-old said.
Kekana, who is inspired by 1996 Olympic gold medallist and compatriot Josiah Thugwane, said marathon running is very popular in South Africa and much of it depends on individual endurance and tactics.
"Running is an individual sport unlike football or cricket where you are always guided by a coach," he said.
"In sport like marathon you are on your own and you don't have to depend on anyone, unlike team games where a player is always guided by coaches or managers."
Photographs: SEBASTIAN D'SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images
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