Local athletes struggle in Mandela marathon

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Leemisa Thuseho

DESPITE failing to win the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon, local runners are happy with their respective times citing it was their first race after a long Covid-19 break.

This year’s edition held at the Pollok Beach in Summerstrand; Port Elizabeth last Saturday also served as the Athletics SA half-marathon championships.

Lesotho had seven athletes and all of them failed to bring home any medals.

The country was represented by Namakoe Nkhasi, Lebenya Nkoka, Jobo Khatoane, Khoarahlane Seutloali, Tšepo Mathibelle, Kabelo Lesia and Teboho Noosi.

Only Nkhasi finished close to the top 10 coming 12th recording a time of 1:02:18. He was followed by Khatoane with 1:03:41 in 20th.

Veteran Nkoka crossed the finish line after 1:03:58 and came 25th.

Seutloali, Lesotho’s only athlete who has so far qualified for the Tokyo Olympics came 26th with a time of 1:04:21.

Mathibelle, Lesia and Noosi finished were 30th, 31st and 49th clocking 1:04:30, 1:04:37 and 1:06:17 respectively.

Speaking to the Lesotho Times this week, Nkoka said the competition was tough and seems to be growing every year.

He however, said although their positions were poor, their times were promising given that they have been dormant for a long time.

“Based on the times we clocked, the performance was not too bad although the positions were poor,” Nkoka said.

“With the same times in the past, we could have been in the top 10 but due to the growing competition, we are now struggling even if we are clocking good times.”

On the other hand, Khatoane said the competition was too high and he was not happy with his performance.

“The competition was too high and I didn’t perform well. But given that this was my first race in a long time, the time that I recorded was reasonable.”

On his part, Seutloali said he was using the race a part of his preparations for the Olympics. Although his time was not bad, he had hoped for an even better performance.

“My performance was poor. I was not at my best and must go back and prepare myself. I want to compete in a marathon next because that is the category I am going to compete in at the Olympics,” Seutloali said.

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