Seutloali recuperates from Soweto Marathon upset



MASERU – Long-distance specialist Khoarahlane Seutloali is recovering from the Soweto Marathon distress that saw him fail to run the race to the finish in South Africa last Sunday. Seutloali, 31, collapsed at about 300 metres towards the finish line of the 42.2km African Bank Soweto Marathon, shattering his dream of finishing among the top five.

The Lesotho marathoner told Public Eye on Tuesday this week that he was getting better, saying the incident was not that bad apart from the fact that it caused him to lose the race at the end of the day.

Seutloali was in position four when he collapsed during the race, an unfortunate incident that forced him to pull out of the race. “I am getting well after all. In fact, the incident was not that bad; hence, I didn’t even go to the hospital,” said Seutloali. “It was just a minor shoulder injury.”

Seutloali further said: “I became dizzy all of a sudden and collapsed, and at the time I was still left with just 300 metres to go.” The marathoner said he had targeted a top-five finish, but his dream was shattered because of the unfortunate incident.

“I actually wanted to win the race in the beginning, but I realised during the competition that it was not going to be easy, and so my target was to finish among the top five, and of course I was on course because I was in position four when I collapsed,” he said. Seutloali was going to be Lesotho’s fourth athlete to finish among the top 10 runners if he ran the race to the finish on the day, after his countrymen Lebenya Nkoka, Jobo Khatoane, and Namakoe Nkhasi came in at positions four, five, and nine, respectively.

Nkoka clocked in 2:21:11, behind Tonny Skink of Zimbabwe in 2:20:15, Daba Ifa Debele of Ethiopia in 2:19:52, and Ntsindiso Mphakathi of South Africa in 2:19:13, in third, second, and first positions, respectively.

Khatoane and Nkhasi crossed the finish line in 2:21:17 and 2:24:09, respectively. “I was in front of Nkoka when I collapsed and quite far ahead of him,” Seutloali said. Seutloali, who represented Lesotho at the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, in 2021, said the Soweto Marathon was not an Olympic qualifying race.

The next Olympic Games will be held in Paris, France, from July 26 to August 11, 2024. Tebello Ramakongoana is Lesotho’s only athlete who has already qualified for the global games. Ramakongoana, who is also a marathoner, qualified for the Paris Olympic Games at this year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, three months ago.

Seutloali said he would also like to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games, but the problem was a lack of funds for him to be able to run some of the races in which he could qualify for the games.

“I would like to represent the country at the Olympic Games again in a row, but the problem was funds,” he said. “Such races need funds, and I cannot afford them.” Seutloali said that as a result, he decided to mainly focus on races with good prizes even though they are not among the Olympic Games qualifiers, like the Soweto Marathon.

He has wished Ramakongoana the best of luck in Paris next year. “I wish him all the best, and what is good about him is that he is at the peak of his performance,” Seutloali said. Ramakongoana won the men’s 10km of the Soweto Marathon in 0:29:21 last Sunday.

Seutloali said Ramakongoana just needed to keep his fitness until the Paris games. “He just needs to keep his current fitness,” he said. “Who knows, maybe he would start getting invitations for some of the big international races if he could put up a good performance at the Paris Olympic Games.”

Seutloali further said Ramakongoana would need more support than ever before for him to be able to perform well at the Olympics. “He now needs more support than ever before. He doesn’t need stress. Seutloali came in at position 66 out of 75 athletes who managed to finish the Tokyo Olympics men’s marathon in 2:25:03 in 2021.      


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