Kativhu aims to defend Matopos 33-Miler title


HILMAX Athletics Club long distance runner Monica Kativhu is hoping to defend her title in the $20 000 PPC Zimbabwe Matopos 33-Miler ultra-marathon set for Sunday.


Kativhu who will face stiff challenge from veteran athletes Samukeliso Moyo and Thabitha Tsatsa in one of the richest events in the country’s athletics calendar, yesterday confirmed participation.

Last year Kativhu, who did not receive any competition from her counterpart Julia Nemhara who failed to finish the race, romped home in five hours four minutes 51secs in the women’s category.

Kativhu said she is aware of the difficulties she might face in her quest to defend the title should Moyo and Tsatsa decide to take part because the last time they met in South Africa last year, they outclassed her.

“I am going to take part in this competition and I am hoping to perform better and defend my title. I am training hard. I don’t want to promise much, but I know I will do my best. I am not sure who is coming at the moment, but if Samukeliso (Moyo) and Tsatsa are taking part as well, I know that it is going to be a very tough contest. The last time we ran together was last year in South Africa and they performed better than me,” Kativhu said.

Kativhu is coming into the competition oozing with confidence after finishing second in a time of four hours 26mins at the Boksburg Saps ultra-marathon in Johannesburg on March 23.

With last year’s winner in the men’s section, Michael Ngaaseke, not taking part, Black Rhinos athletics coach Shepherd Moyo has tipped Andrew Chimbidzikai and Alfred Benhura from the club to win the race.

Chimbidzikai came second last year while Benhura will be making his first appearance in the competition.

“We are sending 15 athletes for the competition. I am banking on Andrew (Chimbidzikai) and Alfred (Benhura) to win the ultra-marathon. Chimbidzikai came second last year, so this year we are hoping that he will approach the race with maturity and come first while Benhura will be competing for the first time. I am pleased by his performance in training,” Moyo said.

Black Rhinos boast Simbarashe Chikadaga, Blessing Topodzi, Bornface Jeki and Hebert Marufu. The 21km race will be the most interesting with the likes of Wirimai Juwawo and Blanket Mine’s Nkosiyazi Sibanda avoiding the ultra-marathon opting for the half-marathon.