MARATHONER, Tebello Ramakongoana is not happy with his maiden performance at the 2022 World Athletics Championships.
Ramakongoana came a disappointing 35th after clocking 2:13:35 on Sunday.
The championships started on 15 July in Oregon, US and end on 24 July. Ramakongoana was the only athlete representing Lesotho.
“I am not satisfied with my performance at all. This is not the result I was expecting. I was hoping to do much better,” Ramakongoana said.
He said he would have been happier to break his personal best time of 2:10:24 set in October 2021 during the Cape Town Marathon.
He believes he could have done better had he not been affected by the loss of his luggage on his way to the games. This forced him to compete with new attire which he was not comfortable with, he said.
“I lost my luggage on the flight to the US. I was forced to get new attire, including shoes. I was not comfortable in them and this affected my performance.
“It is not advisable to use new shoes during a marathon because their soles would still be stiff. New shoes need time to adjust to one’s feet,” Ramakongana said.
He said he started experiencing some pain after about 33km and he couldn’t maintain pace with the front runners.
“I was forced to jog to the finish line. It wasn’t because I was worn out, but the pain was just too much.”
Ramakongoana is also part of the Lesotho team leaving the country this weekend to England for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
He said his under-performance at World Championships was now water under the bridge and his focus was now on the Birmingham games.
Ramakongoana was part of the team that represented the country at the 2022 African Athletics Championships in Mauritius last month. He came 12th in the 10km race clocking a time of 30:44.40.
In the same month, he settled for eighth position at Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon in South Africa after recording 1:01:23. That is his personal best in the half marathon.
In April, he competed at Gaborone International Meet where he finished third in 5km clocking 14:14.17. That was after he had made it into the top 10 of the Cape Town’s Two Oceans Marathon where he came sixth in 1:03:56.
Ramakongoana in February won the Best of Best Durban Half marathon in 1:03:48.
Despite his uninspiring performance at the World Championships, Ramakongoana says he cherishes the experience he got.
“Things did not turn out the way I wanted, but it was still great to compete against top world marathoners,” he said.