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South Africa-based Malawian eyes top marathon

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South Africa-based Malawian athlete, Jimmy Bonjesi, has set his sights on next year’s Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon to be held in the Rainbow Nation.

Bonjesi is aiming higher after impressing in races, including winning two-kilometre Total Whale Half-Marathon in South Africa after clocking 1:13:44 on September 30.

It was the first time that an athlete from South Africa’s Whalers Athletics Club won the race in 20 years.

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Bonjesi also impressed in the 42.2-kilometre Sanlam Cape Town Marathon when he clocked 2:42:05.

Out of 8,005 runners, Bonjesi was on position 77 and he beat his club’s record.

“It was my first time that I had competed in a marathon. I did not prepare well because I was not sure of my participation. However, I was glad that I set a new record for my club. I learnt a lot and I will definitely improve my performance and time,” he said.

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The athlete said he had stepped up training for the Old Mutual Two Oceans’ Marathon, which runs under the rules of International Association of Athletics’ Federation (Iaaf), Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Western Province Athletics (WPA).

“I believe that if I work hard, I can make it and help raise Malawi’s flag,” he said.

Bonjesi hailed his club for helping him launch a career in athletics after a nagging injury ended his football career in Malawi.

Bonjesi played football with the likes of Nyasa Big Bullets’ Team Manager, Rahim Ishmael, and former University of Malawi FC and Bullets’ midfielder, Madalitso Musa.

Recently, Athletics’ Association of Malawi (AAM) General Secretary, Frank Chitembeya, promised to monitor Bonjesi’s performance.

“Of course, his performance in half-marathons is almost three, three minutes short of [that] our top two athletes. We want to monitor him because we feel that he has the capacity to easily reduce time, a thing which most local athletes fail,” he said.

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