The 96th Comrades marathon champion, Tete Dijana, received a hero’s welcome from family, friends, and the community when he returned to Mahikeng in the North West.
Dijana, who was joined by Edward Mothibi, who finished third in the men’s race on Sunday, says he is elated that he could set a new record for the down run.
A special welcome ceremony was held for Dijana in Lonely Park outside Mahikeng, and for the other six athletes who were placed in the top 10. Overwhelmed with joy, Dijana says he intends to work harder for the next Comrades marathon.
“My coach said I must not break the record too much, but at least with a minute or two, and I was trying to delay the minutes, and I was checking on Piet, also reserving the energy if ever Piet came back because Piet was coming so strong, so I wanted to reserve energy so that we could battle, but he was not able to come back.”
Six male runners from the North West managed to make it to the top 10, while Adele Broodryk came in second in the women’s race.
Broodryk, who is also a sports scientist, says she is overjoyed with her performance.
“I went a position up from last year. I was third overall but also the first South African lady this year with second overall. But the main achievement for me was being able to break six hours for the ultra marathon and also having the fourth fastest time ever for the down run completed. I am very happy with that. I am excited about that achievement and improvement, seeing that it is only my second time around that I am able to run the Comrades Marathon.”
Developing young talent
The provincial government says they will do more to ensure that the young talent of the North West is developed.
The MEC for Arts and Culture, Kenetswe Mosenogi explains, “What the department is doing, which I think has led us to where we are now celebrating the achievements of our athletes, is that we have a club development program and the school sport program where on an annual basis we have autumn and winter games, especially in schools, where most of our learners would participate, and those who are identified by the federation will be supported through the academic.”
Dijana says that although he received substantial prize money, he will not be resigning from his job as a security guard.
Comrades Marathon | Winner Tete Dijana welcomed by supporters in Mahikeng, North West: