MIDDLE distance runner Tšepang Sello’s South African coach Derek Van Rensburg is confident that the 21-year will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after an impressive campaign in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Championship.
Sello recently set a new national record running at the USSA in Stellenbosch, where she clocked 2:05.04 in the 800m and also finished second.
She also won gold in the 1500m category running at the same competition and Van Rensburg is confident that Sello will be ready to contest for a medal for Lesotho.
The 21-year-old Free State based runner was part of the Lesotho team at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil but struggled to get going running in tough categories that also had the likes of Caster Semenya.
“Our plan is for her to run a 2 and sub 2 min to qualify for the 2020 Olympics and yes she can achieve that,” Van Rensburg said.
“She has all the talent that we need and there are still certain factors that we can develop to help her improve. It is a privilege to work with an athlete and person of her quality.”
Van Rensburg told the Lesotho Times that Sello was too young when she ran at the Brazil 2016 Olympic Games and it was always going to be difficult for her to succeed at such a big stage against some of the best athletes in her category.
“Yes, we work according a problem and plan. This is Tšepang’s third year with us and it is well-known that you start to get results after three years. We were lucky because she is a good athlete who improved every year.
“When she went to the Olympics she was inexperienced. Our training programme is going according our plan and yes, she still has plenty to improve on
“We would like to go to the World Championship in Doha in September. First the World Students and also All Africa Games set for Algeria in August,” he said.
He also said they plan to have Sello focus only on the 800m in major continental competitions.
“When you run world times you cannot run 800m and 1500m. We only do this at University Champs to help athletes get more medals. At the moment, she will concentrate on 800m,” he said.
He also said the athlete has made a lot of improvement in the three years that she has been studying at the University of Free State (Kosvies)
“Lesotho athletes are improving a lot thanks to the scholarship through the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC). Being with us here at the university also makes a big difference in the sense of opportunities.
“FSSSI helps a lot and her studies at Kosvies are also important. There is a life after running and she must be prepared for that.
“I have also done a presentation to the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) and the LNOC about what they can do better to improve their middle and long-distance runners,” Van Rensburg said.