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Tadu Nare the belle of the Ball at the SPAR Grand Prix Women’s 10km Series Awards

Tadu Nare the belle of the Ball at the SPAR Grand Prix Women's 10km Series Awards

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Johannesburg — Tadu Nare wore green on Wednesday, but it was not the colour of Nedbank Running Club that she has earned fame and fortune in as she dominated local running with her scintillating displays in the SPAR Grand Prix Women’s 10km Series.

At the swanky Maslow Hotel out at Sun Times Square in the country’s capital, the Ethiopian running superstar was the true “Belle of the Ball” in her flowing and shiny green ball gown, pearl necklace and matching ear-rings.

The transformation was uncanny, the lightning fast athlete almost unrecognisable as she walked about with the grace of a swan up to the stage to receive her accolades.

Nare and the rest of the athletes who participated in the six-race series gathered at The Maslow for the awards ceremony where the sponsors announced – to the athletes’ delight – that prize-money for next year’s event will be increased.

SPAR Group Sponsorship and Events Manager, Charlene Subbarayan confirmed that SPAR would continue with their sponsorship of the event in 2023: “After two difficult years of hosting events due to Covid-19 we look forward to returning back to normal in 2023 and promise that the SPAR Grand Prix will be bigger and better with each of the six races forming part of the SPAR Women’s Challenge series. Our target for next year is to reach 120 000 women throughout the country through this sponsorship and to keep growing the numbers of women’s road running in the country working closely with our partner Athletics South Africa.”

Whether the bigger kitty (details of which will be revealed at the 2023 launch) will see the rest of the field upping their game enough to dethrone Nare, who has now made the series her ‘plaything’, following yet another dominant display to defend the title she won at a canter in 2021 remains to be seen.

Yesterday, Nare received a cheque of R190 000 to add to the five individual R30 000 cheques she banked for each of her five wins. The Ethiopian should be able to complete the house she started building for her family back in Addis Ababa following her series victory last year.

“I have also bought some land as an investment,” she said, a smile of contentment flickering across her face.

She was gracious in acknowledging the support of the South African crowds and referred to the country as her ‘home away from home’.

“The people here have made me feel very welcome and I have loved running here. I hope I’ll be able to defend my title next year, but that will depend on possible international commitments. I will have to discuss it with my coach and see what is best for me,” she said.

While she is known here for her 10km exploits, Nare has since ventured into running marathons and was victorious in her debut in the 42.19km distance at the Barcelona Marathon where she won in an impressive 2:23.53.

She is going back to Spain early next month to race the Valencia Marathon on December 4 and says her training has been going well.

Nare’s compatriot Selam Gebre finished second overall in the series and took home R100 000 apart from the individual race prize-money as well as the one she got for winning the junior category. She too was resplendent in a shiny ball gown, hers being shiny blue though.

Their Nedbank Running Club teammate Helalia Johannes – overall series winner in 2019 – took home R60 000 for finishing third overall but was also richly rewarded for winning the veterans (40-49 year olds) category. She was not present at the awards ceremony but was represented by her coach Robert Kaxuxwena who refuted suggestions that the Namibian was ‘special’ for being able to compete at such a high level given her age.

“She is not really special. It’s all about hard work, because if you work hard, age is not a problem. I’ve just seen now that there is a (an athlete) 60+ who ran one of the races in 41 minutes,” he said in reference to Judy Bird who was top in that age category.

Murray & Roberts’ Kesa Moletsane was the first South African on the open leaderboard in fourth place and the challenge is on to see if the locals can take the fight to the Ethiopians next year and be the ones shining brightest at the awards ceremony.


IOL Sport

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