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MBABANE - Crossing fingers.

This is the story of Manqoba Nhlabatsi, an athlete representing both William Pitcher College and the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) Athletics Club. Nhlabatsi will be competing against South Africa Rugby national team, Springboks Captain Siya Kolisi, who currently plays for France’s Racing 92 in the French Top 14, for the Sportsman of the Year title at the Regional Annual Sports Awards (RASA). Nhlabatsi is among the four local sport personalities nominated for the prestigious awards that will be held in Zambia next Saturday.

Notably, Nhlabatsi received substantial sponsorship of approximately E70 000 from the Taiwan Embassy in Eswatini last year. The Ngwenya Half Marathon winner expressed his delight at being nominated in the same category as Siya Kolisi, stating that it indicates a promising future for his athletic career.

“Siya Kolisi is a renowned figure not only in South Africa but worldwide. For me, hailing from our kingdom and being nominated in the same category for this prestigious award alongside him is truly a remarkable highlight, not just for myself, but for the entire nation. I am thrilled and eagerly anticipating the awards ceremony,” he said.

The athlete went on to express his anticipation and high hopes for the upcoming awards ceremony, stating that he was eager to bring home the accolade despite the tough competition he would be facing from Kolisi and Botswana athlete Bayabo Ndori, who recently qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics Games. Ndori clinched his spot in the prestigious event by clocking an impressive time of 44:10 seconds to win his category.

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