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Tjoka set to defend title

Pascalinah Kabi

MASERU — ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka will seek to defend her Soweto Marathon title when she takes to the road in Soweto, South Africa, this morning.
If she successfully defends her title, Tjoka, 27, will go home M100 000 richer.
She however goes into the 42.2km marathon while still nursing an injury which she suffered during the Olympic Games in London.
Dubbed ‘Queen of Soweto’ after winning the race a record five times, Tjoka knows only victory in the race will restore her feared reputation in the region.
Tjoka performed dismally at the London Olympics and the Beijing Games in 2008.
Her performance in London, in which she came a distant 90th, is in sharp contrast to her performance in regional races.
She has won races such as the Let?eng High Altitude Summer Marathon, City-to-City, Soweto Marathon as well as coming in the Top 10 in other top races in South Africa.
“She is the greatest female athlete Lesotho has had (in a very long time),” Sejanamane Maphathe, Lesotho Athletics Amateur Association (LAAA) spokesperson said on Friday.
“Because of this and her steady performance, we are banking our hopes on her that she will definitely bring the title back home this time,” he said.
He said Tjoka has performed better than her fellow male counterparts because “their performances fluctuate while Mamoroallo has been consistent in her career”.
Meanwhile, Lesotho’s top athletes will also take part in the Soweto marathon today.
Mabuthile Lebopo and younger brother, Warinyana, former Soweto Marathon winners Lebenya Nkoka and Tsotang Maine are expected to give other top runners from Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Botswana and Russia a run for their money.
Motlokoa Nkhabutlane, Ramolefi Motsieloa, Moeketsi Mosuhli and Matela Makhetha are also expected to put up a strong show in the race.
“In the male race, the title will be decided between newcomers Matela and Ramolefi, veterans Moeketsi, Nkoka and Nkhabutlane,” Maphathe said.
“Winning will do their careers a lot
of good. It will restore the nation’s trust and pride in them because we’ve been losing in the male category since last year,” Maphathe said.

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