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MBABANE – Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) athlete Mancoba Nhlabatsi has expressed confidence ahead of the Palau Marathon, where he will be competing in a half marathon.

Nhlabatsi, who recently reigned supreme during the second edition of the Voice of the Church (VOC) Half Marathon earlier this month, was among the athletes who took to the track and field for the National Championships 2023 Qualifies at Mavuso Sports Centre yesterday. The REPS athlete has won the past three races that were staged in the country recently. These are the Ngwenya Half Marathon, Lubombo Marathon and second edition of the VOC Half Marathon. He said he was ready to compete in the half marathon in Palau after getting a second position in the 5 000m race yesterday. “Today the race was okay although it’s not what I specialise in. Preparations are going very well and I’ll be running 21km in June. I would like to thank the Embassy of Taiwan that has sponsored me with the tickets and accommodation. I want to thank the relationship that they have with the country and I promise that I will represent the country very well,” he said. Meanwhile, Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands, part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean. Nhlabatsi will leave on June 1, compete on June 6, and return home on June 8.


He was sponsored to a tune of about E70 000 by the Taiwan Embassy in Eswatini. Back to the qualifiers, the second build up to the main event on May 27, next weekend, went well according to AE Chief Operations Officer (COO) Thoba Mazibuko. “We are happy with the attendance from the two build ups and all athletes were able to partake in one of the events, which shows that there will be good competition in the National Championships that will take place next weekend,” he said. The National Championships will see the country’s top athletes in Olympics and Commonwealth Games Sprinter Sibusiso ‘Swazi Bolt’ Matsenjwa and Bongiwe Mahlalela among others headlining the event alongside their Angola, Mozambique and South Africa as well Lesotho counterparts.