Khatala upbeat before Seoul marathon

Focused despite marathon’s last minute postponement

NTHAKO MAJORO

MASERU – Lesotho’s Commonwealth Games hopeful, ’Neheng Khatala, remains confident despite the postponement of the Dong-A Ilbo Gyeongju International Marathon in which she will be taking part. Khatala, 29, was looking to intensify her preparations for this year’s Commonwealth Games with the Seoul Marathon which was initially set to take place on March 20 in Seoul, South Korea. The Dong-A Ilbo Gyeongju International Marathon is an annual road running event over the marathon distance (42.195 km) which takes place in mid-October in the historical city Gyeongju, South Korea.

The competition now features an international elite-level marathon race for both men and women, as well as amateur fun run events over the half marathon, 10km and 5km distance; the race has been postponed to April 17. The upcoming Commonwealth Games are set to take place in Birmingham, England from July 28 to August 8. Khatala, who is currently in Durban, South Africa, at a high performance training centre to step up her preparation for the Commonwealth Games, amongst others, said she was however not dispirited by the postponement of the Seoul Marathon.

“I will not be discouraged by the postponement of the Seoul Marathon but, instead, I will keep on training extra hard to intensify my preparation for the Commonwealth Games,” said Khatala in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday this week. Khatala said she would rather be focusing on running 10km races in South Africa than waiting for big races like the Seoul Marathon. “I will rather be focusing on running 10km races and then after I will run just one 21.1km race just before the Commonwealth Games.”

Khatala further said: “So far everything is going well regarding my preparation. What is also good on my side is that I don’t have injuries and what I am praying to stay well without injuries until the Commonwealth Games.” Khatala, however, said she could not promise anything now since she was yet to intensify her marathon programme for the Commonwealth Games.

“I cannot say I will win the Commonwealth Games or not now because I am yet to intensify my programme for the marathon. “I am now building my speed and I will tell when time goes on how I feel I would perform in the Commonwealth Games.” Khatala qualified for the Commonwealth Games in May last year. Her marathon personal best time and national record is 2;28,06. This is going to be Khatala’ second time competing in the Commonwealth Games.

Her first appearance was with the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia where she finished the women’s marathon on position 11. Khatala also represented Lesotho at the recent Olympic Games which were held in Tokyo, Japan last year where she came on position 20 in the women’s marathon. Apart from the Commonwealth Games, Khatala had also qualified for the World Athletics Championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon, United States from July 15 to 24 this year.

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