The 2023 Comrades ultra marathon down run has attracted nearly 18 000 participants from all corners of the world. The marathon attracts both professionals and enthusiasts, with steady stream of winners like Andrew Kelehe, Gift Kelehe, Edward Mothibi and the defending Champion Tete Dijana, hailing from the North West.
The Department of Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation has sponsored nearly 147 athletes from across the North West.
Known as the Platinum Province, the North West has produced a number of Comrade winners including the current defending champion Tete Dijana. Dijana who is well prepared for this year’s instalment says his defending run will be different.
“I think for this time it’s going to be a different. One because last year, no one knew Tete. This time around they know who’s Tete, so any move that I will do they will just follow me. I know it’s going to be an interesting race,” says Dijana.
North West government show support for defending 2022 Comrades Marathon champion Tete Dijana:
The department extended its support to include two family members of Dijana to travel to Petermaritzburg to support him.
“We are elated because this gives our athlete the confidence that he has our support that he has received from sport and recreation,” Dijana’s uncle, Abe Taole explains.
Some of the 140 provincial athletes like Mojadi Morwe and Aubry Mvala have welcomed the department’s support.
“We are very grateful for the support that we are getting from the department. It has been so consistent for the past 10 years and we really do appreciate it,” says Morwe.
“The support has been really great and we really thank the department for the support that they have been given to us,” says Mvala.
The Provincial Department’s Acting Chief Director, George Marindi, says long distance foot races is a mainstay of the province.
“Each and every department has a particular dominance in sport and coming to the North West, when coming to road running, we are dominate you know. That’s why we have been supporting the Comrades marathon for many years because that’s where our medals are coming from. So, when Gauteng supports soccer or netball our focus mainly is on road running because, we believe that investing in road running will put the department at that ultimate point,” says Marindi.
This year’s Comrades is going be a humdinger, where athletes will try to dethrone the current champion.
2023 Comrades Marathon preview: