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MANZINI – They were simply the best.

This is the duo of Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) athletes Mancoba Nhlabatsi and Samkelisiwe Tfwala who reigned supreme during the second edition of the Voice of the Church (VOC) Half Marathon yesterday. The race started and finished at Zakhele Sports Ground. Worth noting about Nhlabatsi and Tfwala is that they have won the past three races that were staged in the country recently. These are the Ngwenya Half Marathon, Lubombo Marathon and now this one – talk about consistency. Nhlabatsi clocked 1:03:20 hours while Tfwala did it all in 1:23:10 hours.


“The race was tough but when I started seeing my competitors struggling behind, I increased the pace and for the better part of the race I was leading,” Nhlabatsi reacted excitedly after winning the race. Interestingly, his time is getting better with each 21km he partakes in. In the recent Elands Half Marathon, which was staged about two weeks ago, he clocked 1:07:27 minutes while in the Lubombo Half Marathon he finished the race in 1:13:34 hours. Nhlabatsi will be representing the country in the Palau Marathon, (Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands, part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean). Nhlabatsi will leave on June 2, compete on June 6, and return home on June 8. He was sponsored to a tune of about E70 000 by the Taiwan Embassy in Eswatini.

Meanwhile, Tfwala said she was happy to win the race once again. “The race was tough but I tried to prepare for it. I would say hard work pays and I am happy to win this race. Lubombo Marathon was a little bit tough as compared to this one,” she noted. In the 10km run, Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force’s pair of Sikhumbuzo Sihlongonyane, who clocked 31:24 minutes and Sebenele Shabalala won gold in the men and ladies categories respectively. At the time of compiling the report, ladies completing times had not yet been released. Coming second was Correctional Services’ Colani Ndlela after clocking 31:25 minutes with Sifiso Malambe, completing the top three with the time of 32:35 minutes.


The winner in the 5km was Mayibongwe Vilakati who clocked 13:40 minutes, coming second was Mphumuzi Tsela on 13:45 minutes while Sibusiso Shabangu came third on 13:57 minutes.  Winning the ladies category was Sincobile Sibandze while Nothado Dlamini and Siphesihle Ngwenya came after her on second and third place respectively. Overall, there were over 700 runners who participated in the race. Some of the dignitaries who attended are Mbabane Alliance Church Reverend Johannes Mazibuko, All Nations Archbishop Bheki Lukhele and Athletes Eswatini President Zakhele Dlamini as well as Eswatini Broadcasting and Information Services (EBIS) Director Sabelo Dlamini.

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