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LIMPOPO’S current top ultra-marathon runner Rufus Photo has had his great efforts rewarded with inclusion in Athletics South Africa’s (ASA) national team for the IAU 50km World Championships.

Photo, from Moletjie, Ga-Chokwe, is part of the twelve-member squad of six men and six women who will attempt to bring home glory from the championships that will be held in Hyderabad in India on November 5.

“It’s been a long time since I represented my country and I am very excited to be getting yet another opportunity as old as I am,” the 43-year-old told LimSportsZone

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“I was part of the SA team that won gold at the 100km World Championships back in 2016 and at my age I did not see myself representing South Africa again but this shows that in running, age is just a number. I am looking forward to helping my country get a podium finish.”

Photo will team up with Dan Matshailwe, Nkosikhona Mhlakwana, Skhumbuso Seme, Gladwin Mzazi and Pule Sibeko in their quest to bring the country glory in a competition South Africa previously won 2019.

“It’s a very strong team and I am sure we will finish in the top three As long as we can all manage to run a 2:48, we will bring home a medal and even win it.”

Rufus Photo looking forward to helping SA win World 50km Championships
Rufus Photo

RUFUS PHOTO OFF TO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

The World Championships will be a a cherry on top of what has been a good season for Photo who produced a stunning run at the Comrades Marathon in June by winning the veterans’ category (40-49) with his fifth place finish overall at the world famous KwaZulu-Natal ultra.

Photo says his great Comrades run did not happen by chance: “I know that everybody was surprised. I know I was not even expected to be in the top ten because whenever I read about those considered the favourites, my name was not there. But I knew I was on to a good thing, I had learnt my lesson from the past. My blunder previously was that I over-raced so this time I chose my races and mainly focused on training.”

BEST COMRADES MARATHON RECORD 

The reward was great, Photo attaining his best ever Comrades finish of fifth place in a time of 5:21:48.

Without a club after Murray &Roberts closed down, Photo’s efforts have been rewarded with this call up and he is hopeful that some sponsor will come his way to help him not only continue with his brilliant career but to also help the youngsters he is training.

“I have realised that I am inspiring the young ones that I train with as I am achieving the things I am at my age. And where I live there is a lot of talent and I believe I can produce a lot of top class runners who can go on to become great athletes. I am working with a few who are already doing well in races and all we need is good support. My goal is to catch these youngsters while they are still at primary school to develop them because once they are older they are hard to teach. I am currently in talks with the schools. Development has to start early.”

The women’s team for the World Championships is made up of Adele Broodryk, Jenet Mbhele, Stella Marais, Makhosazane Mhlongo, Galaletsang Mekgoe and Deanne Loubscher.

By Matshelane Mamabolo

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