by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MELIKHAYA Frans, South Africa’s reigning half-marathon champion, is tipped for great achievements at the World Athletics Championships in the United States (US).
He has landed in America carrying the hopes of a traumatised nation eager for solace on the track-and-field and healing off it after some recent weeks of unprecedented bloodshed and economic downslide.
The 32-year-old from Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape is anticipated to transfer his domestic form to the world stage for the global tournament scheduled for the northwestern American state of Oregon from Friday until July 24.
Frans is still reveling on what has been an exhilarating year for him, capped by him winning the South Africa Half Marathon Championships in his home town in June.
That victory was attained in record time as the Ikhamva Athletics Club runner set a personal best of 1 hour: 1 minute: 3 seconds.
That was in addition to wins in the Absa Run Your City in Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela Bay Freedom Run, the latter which he defended in Motherwell in May.
Michael Mbambani, Frans’ coach, predicted a successful outing for his prodigy in the United States.
Mbambani is the founder and coach at Ikhamva.
“He (Frans) is healthy, fit and fearless,” Mbambani said.
He made bold predictions ahead of the championships set for Hayward Field.
“He (Frans) will achieve a PB (personal best) and/or a medal if the weather allows,” Mbambani said in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
The interview with the coach coincided with the athlete landing in Los Angeles and connecting by plane to Oregon, 1 380 kilometres away.
Mbambani attributed his bold forecast to thorough preparations with the inform runner, who will be on action this weekend.
“We prepared five full months for the World 42km Championships. We did everything by the book and the knowhow,” he said.
Frans’ ambition is to accumulate requisite points to compete at the 2024 Olympics in France.
– CAJ News