Ex-champ targets Cape Town marathon

 

Mikia Kalati

Crack long distance runner, Motlokoa Nkhabutlane, is confident of repeating his heroics of 2008 by winning this year’s edition of the Cape Town Marathon on Sunday, and claiming the M70 000 first prize.

The then 24-year-old Nkhabutlane clocked 2hrs:15min:01seconds to beat countryman Lebenya Nkoka to first position, and the winner’s prize of M60 000.

Speaking with the Lesotho Times ahead of Sunday’s race, Nkhabutlane said memories of 2008 are still fresh in his mind and he would like to win the race again this year, although his preparations have been hampered by injury.

“I have been working hard to do well in this race even though I have had injury problems. However, I think I am now ready for the race,” Nkhabutlane said.

“It’s a big race and this year, it will be even tougher because most of the runners will be using the competition to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.”

Nkhabutlane, who has benefited from working with some of the country’s top marathoners such as Mabuthile Lebopo, further said he would have to double his efforts to make sure he re-writes the history books as South African races attract top international athletes.

The 29- year-old, who was also among the top four runners in the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Soweto Marathon, said he still dreams of representing his country in big international events such as the Olympics.

“I will give my best on Sunday, as I said the race will be used to qualify for the 2016 Olympics and I believe I still have a lot to offer  my country.”

Nkhabutlane and other big-name marathon runners have, in recent years, been overlooked by the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association  (LAAA) for their demands in representing the country. However, Nkhabutlane is adamant the two parties can put their differences aside so that he gets a chance to run at the Olympics.

Sechaba Bohosi, who came third in the 2008 edition of the competition, was also set for the Cape Town race, but has pulled out to focus on other races.

“Indeed, I was supposed to run in this race, but have since decided to pull out and focus on others that will be coming later in the year,” Bohosi said.

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