Johannesburg – Zintle Xiniwe hopes to get back to winning ways when she lines up for the Spar Women’s 10km Challenge in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Xiniwe finished third in the first leg of the Grand Prix series in Cape Town in March.
She is, however, second in the standings behind Mapaseka Makhanya, who finished second in Cape Town, and a win on Saturday could keep her in the running for the overall title. Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora, who won the first leg, does not qualify for the Grand Prix competition due to her nationality.
“I hope to win the race tomorrow,” Xiniwe said on Friday.
“I came third in Cape Town and have been training really hard so that I can do better this time around.
“The Grand Prix is important for me as it keeps me fit throughout the season.”
Xiniwe finished second in last year’s Port Elizabeth leg, which was won by Rene Kalmer, and set her personal best time of 33 minutes, 19 seconds at the 2010 SA 10km Championships in Paarl.
But she will need to overcome a strong field of runners if she hopes to win this weekend, including Makhanya, Kalmer’s younger sister Christine, and two-time Grand Prix champion Irvette van Zyl.
“The race will be tough because the other runners are very strong,” said Xiniwe.
“But I have faced them before and I know them well, so I will try do my best to overcome them.”
Last year’s overall series winner, Rene Kalmer, has withdrawn from the race due to a niggling injury.
“I have a calf injury I sustained at the Boston Marathon last month and I don’t want to make it worse,” said Kalmer.
“It was a tough decision to make, but I’m looking at the bigger picture.”
Kalmer, who recently returned to competitive running after recovering from a length layoff with an Achilles injury, finished fourth in Cape Town. – Sapa