Athletics South Africa joins the Athletics Family in mourning the former winner of Comrades Marathon Sam Tshabalala who died on Sunday at the age of 65 years. Tshabalala, also popularly known as Mshengu which is his clan name, was the first black Comrades Marathon winner in 1989 in the down-run race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in 5:35:31 to break a consecutive hold of eight wins by Bruce Fordyce. On a day which saw the top spot contested by black athletes, Tshabalala did enough to beat living road-running legend Willie Mtolo to second place on the day. “It is with regret that we learn of his passing when we believed he still had a lot to give back to the sport in other ways of choice or opportune. Top athletes hold the bigger responsibility of being role models in the sport and to society. And on that note, we are greatfull for his work around youngsters at Zamdela, Sasolburg where he stayed. “On behalf of the ASA Board and entire Athletics Family, I convey our deepest condolences to his wife Julia, four sons, three daughters, his athletes, friends and Zamdela community. He was a lovable person who will be sorely missed,” said James Moloi, the President of Athletics South Africa.