Two podium finishes at Spar Grand Prix for talented Nedbank RC juniors
March 27, 2024  
It was a successful morning out for Nedbank running club teenage stars Diniya Kedir Abaraya and compatriot Getenesh Agafaw as the duo sped to a 2nd and 3rd place finish at the opening leg of the 2024 Spar Ladies Grand Prix series which took off in Cape Town.

Leading a field of over 14 000 women, the duo was engaged in a ding dong battle up front with South Africa’s Glenrose Xaba with the 3 women breaking away from the rest of the pack early on. Just after 6km Agafaw started to fall off the pace and at 9km a huge surge from Abaraya saw the tiny Nedbank running club athlete briefly go into the lead, only for Xaba to reel her in and take victory in 32:17 with Abaraya finishing 2nd in a close 32:24. Agafaw held on to round the podium off with her 3rd in 33:02.

Abaraya admitted she struggled in the latter stages of the race after launching an early kick, and while she felt she gave the victory away, the 18-year-old athlete was satisfied with her result.

"It was a wonderful race. The weather was great, and the environment was amazing," said Abaraya, who also won the junior division ahead of Agafaw.

"I didn't time my race properly. I should have won, but I took off too early. It's a learning curve for me and I know next time I'll do better, but all in all, I'm very happy with the race and with my time."

Abaraya and Agafaw are the latest two junior stars in the making under the Nedbank running club Ethiopia banner. Over the last 4 years, the Spar Ladies Grand Prix Series had been dominated by Tadu Nare and joining her more recently Selam Gebre, two Nedbank running club athletes who came to South Africa and ran their first races ever under the series and who have both become not only household names in the country, but also internationally to.

“We first brought Tadu to South Africa as a young junior and the series gave her a platform to make a name for herself and develop herself as an athlete,” said Nick Bester, National team manager of the Nedbank running club. Nare has won the series multiple times but has also gone on to become one of the best marathon runners in the world.

“Through our development initiatives and the support from Nedbank and all our sponsors, Tadu has been able to make this a financially viable career and we have seen her perform proudly in Nedbank running kit on the world stage at races such as the London Marathon which is the big league.”

The baton now seems to have been passed down to Abaraya and Agafaw, but don’t think the series has seen the end of Nare and Gebre. “They missed the first race due to prior international commitments, but South Africa has not seen the last of Tadu and Selam,” says Bester. “We look forward to having them in the series this year and it will be great for the two juniors to run in the same race as them, knowing that they are following in their footsteps and taking the same path that will also hopefully enable them to conquer the world.”