No Rhodes statue on Two Oceans medal

Organisers of the Two Oceans Marathon refuted claims they banished the Cecil John Rhodes statue from medals.

Men’s 56km race winner Motlokoa Nkhobotlane crossing the finish line at UCT. Picture: EWN Sport.

CAPE TOWN - The organisers of the 45th Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon have refuted claims that they banished the statue of Cecil John Rhodes from the medals awarded to runners due to the debate on transformation.

They say the #rhodesmustfall discussion has not spilled over to the famous race and that the medals were produced weeks before the controversial topic was discussed.

A total of 27,000 runners participated in the sporting event yesterday often dubbed the "world's most beautiful road race."

The marathon's board director Chet Sainsbury said, "The statue has nothing to do with the marathon and those medals were created a long time ago and the statue discussion only occurred recently."

This year's winner made a remarkable turnaround to finish first.

Motlokoa Nkhobotlane from Lesotho ended 49th in last year's race.

Zimbabwe's Collen Makaza was second and Moeketsi Moshuli rounded off the top three.

Caroline Wostman was the first woman over the finish line and the first South African to win since 2001.

Fellow South African Tanith Maxwell ended third in her first ever ultra-marathon.

UCT STATUE DEBATE

Students at the University of Cape Town had been protesting for three weeks against the figure.

They said it represented racism and a lack of transformation at the institution.

Last week, UCT's senate voted to remove the statue after a series of protests sparked debate around the country.

The African national Congress (ANC) said it supported students who wanted to remove it as part of their attempts to transform universities.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said transformation should not even be open for debate.

UCT students said the statue would be covered up pending a final decision on whether it should be permanently moved from its prominent position on campus.

The Economic Freedom Fighters also said the institution's decision was a step in the right direction.