Seutloali ecstatic after Olympics experience
LONG distance runner ‘Neheng Khatala Seutloali is ecstatic despite coming 20th in the Tokyo Olympics yesterday morning.
Seutloali clocked 2:33:15 to become the first Mosotho woman to finish the Olympics marathon ever since the country made its debut appearance in 1972.
Seutloali started well and remained in the leading pack for the first half of the race until the eventual winner Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya and her compatriot Brigid Kosgei increased the pace of the race.
Jepchirchir clocked 2:27:20 while Kosgei (2:27:36) took home the silver medal. The United States of America (USA’s) Molly Seidel clocked 2:27:46 and came third.
“I am very excited with my performance especially because this was my first time running at the Olympics,” Seutloali said.
“I think this is a big achievement for me which I will have to build on going forward.
“It was not an easy race but I was expecting it to be tough. I have learnt so much and it was a great experience to race with top athletes.”
Among other things, she learnt that other countries have several who qualify and this enables them to work as a team during the race and that gives them an advantage over others. Most countries were running in pairs, so they were working as teams while I was just fighting alone.”
When the eventual winners increase the pace, she had to manage hers to avoid collapsing from the excessive heat.
“I pulled away from the bunch. I had to be clever because it was very hot and I could have collapsed had I tried to keep up with the pacesetters. I could not afford failing to finish the race,” Seutloali said.