Local long-distance runner Rapula Diphoko says he is confident of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics. He said this over the weekend after finishing second at Orange Phikwe National Marathon.
Diphoko came second in the 42KM marathon, behind Zimbabwe’s Nkosiyazi Sibanda, who finished the race in a time of 2. 21.24, while the local runner clocked 2.20.39. Kenyan Kirwa Korir ended the race in third position with 3.20.39. Sibanda walked away with P25 000 for winning the marathon.
In an interview after the race, Diphoko told journalists that he was very proud of his achievement bearing in mind his previous poor performances in recent races.
“I feel very proud. I am happy because even my body has changed, I have not been performing well and I have not been running well. I came very prepared, I had the best preparation for this race. It has been two difficult months of hard work.” an elated Diphoko told the media
He added that, “The reason why I did not finish first is that I made a mistake of leading the race with a kilometer to go. I felt my body was very relaxed, but in the end, I failed to use my strategy, he (the winner) beat me at the last 50 meters.
One other thing also that I realized during the race is that many of our local runners fail to plan during the race. From the start they went out very aggressively, they were harassing the race. They set a very fast race and at 30 kilometers they were all tired and had fallen behind,” he revealed.
Quizzed on his short and long-term aspirations, he said his main focus was participating in most of the upcoming marathons, but his biggest objective is qualifying for the next Olympics.
“After this race, I have the BDF marathon to prepare for and also the Mayor’s marathon. In the long term, I expect to qualify for the next edition of the Olympics, with the right kind of preparations I am confident of achieving that. Today (Saturday) I was able to run 2 (hours) 20 (minutes) and the qualification time for the Olympics is 2 hours 18 minutes, so it shows that am not too far from achieve that time,” concluded Diphoko who pocked home P15 000.