by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – SIR Mo Farah is still very much a part of the Cape Town Marathon.
The legendary African-born British illustrious athlete’s role as the international ambassador of the race has been a source of consternation among the local athletics fraternity.
This since he was announced as the face of the virtual version of the race in June.
There was some misperception recently when his name was missing from a list of top athletes that will take to the field, remotely, in the Sanlam-sponsored race on October 18.
Some believed this was a signal that organisers had bowed down to pressure and dropped Farah as the ambassador.
Elana Meyer, the award-winning South African, was mentioned as the holder of that role.
However, Leonie Mollentze, Communications Manager of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, explained in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
“Sir Mo Farah is still the international ambassador for the virtual race,” Mollentze said.
“The focus of this release was the South African elite field participating in the Elite Invitational on October 18,” the race spokesperson added.
Mollentze was referring to a press release that had not mentioned Farah, the multiple award-winning Olympian.
She pointed out former Sprinboks captain, Francois Pienaar, was also an envoy and executive of the marathon.
Piennar’s name was also missing from the release.
“Francois Pienaar (and Elana Meyer) remain official race ambassadors, while Francois is also the chairman of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon,” Mollentze confirmed.
The marathon will this year be held virtually after the customary version was postponed as a result of the ravaging coronavirus (COVID-19).
Still, it is set to feature arguably the strongest elite field ever for a local marathon.
The athletes will contest the ultra marathon, half marathon and cross country, along three pre-designed routes in Cape Town, Pretoria and Potchefstroom.
The men’s field includes legends like Stephen Mokoka, Elroy Gelant, Bongmusa Mthembu and Edward Mothibi.
Ann Ashworth, Charne Bosman, Jenna Challenor, Cornelia Joubert, Tanith Maxwell, Sanelisiwe Mbanjwa as well as twins Lebo and Lebohang Phalula, will be among the female participants.
Farah will race in the 10km Virtual Peace Run in his United Kingdom base.
– CAJ News