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Golden Girl aims higher

Teboho Molapo

 MASERU — Lesotho’s Golden Girl Selloane Tšoaeli believes she can jump even higher after setting yet another national high jump record at the Continental Cup in Split, Croatia, two weeks ago.

Although she came seventh, Tšoaeli leapt a personal best 1.78 metres to continue a year of progress.

Her performance in Croatia also moved the African champion to seventh place in the world, up from 24th.

Tšoaeli’s chances of claiming gold at next month’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, are quite realistic because the other six women who finished ahead of her in Croatia are not participating in the games.

They are world leader Blanka Vlasic (Croatia), Emma Green (Sweden), Nadiya Dusanova (Uzbekistan), Anna Ustinova (Kazakhstan) and Lesyani Mayor (Cuba).

Tšoaeli told the Sunday Express she was working with her coach Reynaldo Salas to improve her technique ahead of the games which start on October 3.

“My coach has said that we are going to work on my approach (to the jump), and then from there we can work on the height. I believe I can go even higher,” she said.

“It’s one of those things that we are doing — if you miss out on a medal then achieve your personal best.

“(But) I’m not totally happy because I had chances to go over 1.80 metres.

“Unfortunately I was alone and I had no one to correct my mistakes.”

In order to have a better medal chance at the Commonwealth Games, which run from October 3 to 14, Tšoaeli said she was aiming to break the 1.80 metres barrier.

“If I can go beyond my personal best I will be happy,” the African champion said.

“It will depend on my training (but) my aim is to try and succeed at 1.80 metres.”

Tšoaeli said a stumbling block was the lack of equipment that always haunts sport in Lesotho.

Because of her jumping technique Tšoaeli needs more landing mats than the two available in the country.

“The problem is that I jump from the middle and because of that I land at the very edge of the mat,” she said.

“(Unfortunately) we only have two mats in the country and as I get higher it is becoming more dangerous for me.

“I could fall off the mat and injure myself seriously.”

This year Lesotho will be taking part in the Commonwealth Games — meant for mostly former British colonies — for the ninth time.

Lesotho first took part in the 1974 edition with the country’s first medal coming at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games when Thabiso Moqhali won gold in the marathon.

Then in 2002 in Manchester boxer Sephula Letuka won bronze before boxer Moses Kopo won silver at the 2006 Melbourne Games.

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