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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

Gerda Steyn not ruling out possibility of winning an Olympic medal as she prepares for tactical race

After Caster Semenya failed to qualify in the 5000m, many argue that Team South Africa is lacking a medal hopeful when it comes to female runners. Although Semenya and the legendary Elana Meyer are the only South African female runners to have won Olympic medals, don't bet against Gerda Steyn finishing on the podium in the women's marathon. The SA marathon record holder believes that anything is possible, especially in what is expected to be a tactical race in Japan on August 7.

Gerda Steyn is not ruling our the possibility of winning an Olympic medal at #Tokyo2021. Photo Credit: SmacPix.

"First and foremost I want to be an Olympian and represent South Africa as best as I possibly can," she told #TheTopRunner from her training base in The Gulf. "I do feel like setting a new SA record has given me confidence and the marathon in Sapporo will be quite a different experience and I feel as though the race will be a game of strength rather than a game of speed," said the woman who set a new SA marathon mark of 2:25:28 when she broke Colleen de Reuk's 25-year old record in April.

With highs of 31 degrees celsius and lows of 24 degrees, August in Tokyo is typically a warm and sometimes wet month. Steyn believes this is what gives her an advantage against some of the top East Africans, Americans and Europeans who are used to racing in cool European climes.

Steyn in the middle of a high altitude training camp in the French Alps ahead before leaving for Tokyo. Photo Credit: Gerda Steyn.

"It would be a struggle to outrun someone who is just faster than you full stop on a cold and course but I think in Sapporo it might be a bit of a different game," said the Nedbank Running Club star athlete.

"Of course I will always try to aim as high as I possibly can and if it means that I can get top 10 or be a contender than that's even more encouraging. Reach for the stars and then land on the moon," she giggled.

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