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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'Hard work plays a big role' - Miranda Coetzee secures Olympic Qualification and gold medal at African Champs

Updated: Jun 25

Although it remains to be seen whether all the results will stand after the shockingly poor organisations standards of the competition, the 2024 CAA African Athletics Championships have managed to produce at least one more Olympic qualifier for Team South Africa. Miranda Coetzee defended the title she won in Mauritius two years ago when she claimed victory in the women's 400m in 51.16 seconds.

But before winning the gold medal in Cameroon on Sunday 23 June, Coetzee ran 50.91 the day before to dip under the automatic qualification standard of 50.95. Getting both the gold medal and securing a maiden Olympic birth came as a major boost to the two-time SA Champion after illness and injury had sidelined her during the first quarter of the year.

Coetzee celebrates victory in the 400m at the CAA African Champs. Photo Credit: Supreme Athletics.

"The reason why I haven't run much is because I was sick. I had Covid for three weeks and before that I was injured - my hamstring was giving me problems for about two weeks. And I only started training again in April. You know the fact that I was sick and injured took a lot out of me. I lost a lot of confidence and motivation. I just had to motivate myself and bring myself back. I've had support from my coach and my agent," said the 26-year-old from Rustenburg who is coached by Eugene Thipe.

Having represented the country about both the 2022 and 2023 World Championships, as well as the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the four-time African Champion is now an experienced athlete going into #Paris2024. But because of the challenges she has faced this year, Coetzee says she has no expectations and only wants to give it her best.

Joy after realising that she has achieved the automatic Olympic qualification standard. Photo Credit: Supreme Athletics.

" This year started really bad for me, so I don't know. My main focus is just to work hard and see what I can give and do. I think the main goal is just to focus on myself and not to worry about anybody else because things don't always happen as we want them to. I'm just gonna focus on myself and do my thing. I learnt that hard work plays a big role in athletics - confidence as well. You have to be confident to get what you want. And I also learnt to block out the noise and the negative comments and give my all in everything that I do," she said.

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