10km champ Andreas targets Olympics
Newly-crowned SA 10km road running champion Jeromy Andreas admits the title he won on Sunday is only the first step towards his bigger dream of winning an Olympic track medal for his country.
The 21-year-old edged Namakoe Nkhasi in a sprint finish at the Kings Park Athletics Stadium in Durban, crossing the line in 29 minutes, three seconds (29:03) to take the crown on his race debut.
“I don't like the road at all, to be honest,” Andreas revealed after the race. “I'm going to stick to track racing because I want to bring medals home for South Africa in the future.
“I really like the 1 500 metres, 3 000m and 5 000m, which I'm specialising in. I'll go to the World University Games (in July) and try and win a medal in the 5 000m there. That's my ambition and main focus for now."
Ultimately, Andreas hoped to compete in Rio at the 2016 Olympics and medal at the 2020 Games.
On Sunday, Lloyd Bosman looked to have the race sewn up as the lead group turned towards the finish with one kilometre to go, but he faded with 500 metres to go, giving his two rivals the edge as they entered the stadium.
Andreas kicked hard and opened a gap of 15 metres to secure the title, with Nkhasi having the consolation of taking the SA junior title, three seconds behind. Bosman hung on for the bronze medal in 29:15.
The new winner, who hailed from Eersterivier in the Western Cape, was a second year transportation management student at the University of Johannesburg.
He was one of just three members of the University Sport of South Africa (USSA) team represented at the championships for the first time, revealing his initial applications to turn out for Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) had been rejected.
“My province Gauteng, they don't like picking track guys, so they didn't pick me last year and this year when I asked them to pick me again they didn't again,” he explained.
“So I came here as an individual, my school sent me and I won.”
Andreas succeeded his role model and absent 2012 winner Elroy Gelant as the new champion.
The former national junior 10k title holder, who was a second off his personal-best time set in George last year, said he was targeting a much quicker time, but was content in the end to have put on his “best ever” showing over the distance.
“I wanted to run 28:00, but the pace wasn't right to get it,” Andreas said.
“Still, it was a wonderful race, certainly one of my top five achievements. It's my best 10k so far done on one of the best courses in SA. It's very flat, the support is great and the atmosphere is fantastic.”
The women's title went to Lebo Phalula after she put aside near misses in 2009, when she came third, and last year's runners-up finish to come through in a time of 33:48.
CGA teammate Christine Kalmer was seven seconds behind, with SA marathon champion Cornelia Joubert finishing third in 34:46.