It’s the Ryan and Tshepo show again in top track meeting

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 29: Tshite Tshepo (Mens 1500m) and Mphalele Ryan (Mens 1500m) during track meet 2 of the Cape Milers Club & Endurocad Continental Tour Challenger 2024 at University of the Western Cape Sports Stadium on April 29, 2024 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

History almost repeated itself in another top-flight men’s 1500m race, the highlight of this evening’s (29 April) athletics at the Cape Miler Club & Endurocad WA Challenger Series 2 Meeting on a perfect night at the University of the Western Cape.

Last year Ryan Mphahlele and Tshepo Tshite matched each other down the home straight at the equivalent meeting, held at Green Point, and recorded the fast 1500m times on South African soil, 3:32,90 and 3:33,10 respectively.

Conditions were as perfect this evening as they were on that night, and the two protagonists once again found themselves locked in battle down the home straight of the 1500m. And again it was Mphahlele who took it by a whisker in one of the fastest times ever run in South Africa.

Ryan Mphahlele celebrates another impressive 1500m victory. Photo – Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

But this time it was a fraction slower. Just 54 hours after setting a South African street mile record of 3 min 56,40 sec in the Adizero Roads to Records Street Mile in Germany, the University of Johannesburg athlete, Mphahlele, won the 1500m race by 0,24 sec in 3:33,52, agonizingly just two hundredths of a second outside the OIympic qualifying standard.

Only Mphahelele himself has run faster on South African soil – at Green Point – with Johan Cronje’s national record of 3:31,93 having been set in Italy in 2013, and apart from Mphahlele (and Tshite himself), none have run faster in South Africa than Tshite’s 3:33,76 this evening – high quality athletics from two world-class athletes.

Johan Fourie’s 3:33,87 set in Stellenbosch in 1987 is the next best south of the Limpopo.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – APRIL 29: Sekgodiso Prudence (Womens 800m) during track meet 2 of the Cape Milers Club & Endurocad Continental Tour Challenger 2024 at University of the Western Cape Sports Stadium on April 29, 2024 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)

Mphahlele twice ran inside the qualification standard last year, but both were before the start of the Paris qualification season on 1 July last year. Following his career-best 3:32,90 at Green Point in April, he ran 3:33,38 in the Czech Republic, but crucially that was on 27 June, just four days too early.

The UJ student will be favoured to beat the qualification target before the 30 June cut-off and will hope not to regret that slightly slower second lap earlier this evening, which likely caused him to miss out on the qualifier.

Two other near misses in a poorly attended, but top-quality track meet, came in the two 800m races, both won by Botswana athletes, both missing qualification by a fraction of a second.

Haingura Kethobogile leads his Botswana and Phantane teammate, Tumo Nkape in the men’s 800m in the second meeting of the Cape Milers Club & Endurocad track meeting at University of the Western Cape Sports Stadium on April 29, Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Kethobogile Haingura provided the early fireworks with a superb 1:44,87 win in the men’s 800m, just 0,17 sec off qualifying, with his compatriot, Tumo Nkape a close second in 1:45,25.

And in the final event of the evening,  Botswana’s Oratile Nowe overtook a game Charne Swart in the home straight to run a personal best time and national record of 1:59,69, her triumph marred through missing the qualifier by 0,39 sec.

Nadeel Wildschutt celebrates victory in under 8 minutes in the Mens 3000m. Photo – Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Nadeel Wildschutt continued his recent good form, running a personal best for 3000m and beating the 8 min barrier in clocking 7:59,42 – over three seconds clear of Chris Mhlanga. North West University’s Daniel Verster took line honours in the women’s 3000m in 9:16,56.

Top Ten Performances

1196 points  Ryan Mphahlele (UJ) 3:33,52 in 1500m 

1192 Tshepol Tshite (Phantane) 3:33,76 in 1500m

1178 Kethobogile Haingura (Bots) 1:44,87 in 800m

1168 Oritile Nowe (Bots) 1:59,69 in 800m

1166 Tumo Nkape (Bots) 1:45,25 in 800m

1150 Charne Swart (Tuks) 2:00,71 in 800m

1150 Simon Mohlosi (ARB) 1:45,78 in 800m

1129 Luan Munnick (PTC) 3:38,38 in 1500m

1121 Renier de Villiers (PTC) 1:46,76 in 800m

1112 Gena Lofstrand (FAST) 2:02,85 in 800m