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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I believe in myself' - Prudence Sekgodišo looks ahead after securing World Champs semi-final spot

Prudence Sekgodišo's eye sparkled with delight as she announced her intentions for the Athletics World Championships. "I'm ready for the World Champs," was her confident proclamation. The two-time double 800m and 1500m SA Champion was speaking at the OR Tambo Garden Court Hotel before the team's departure for Hungary last week where she boldly declared that she is poised to deliver the best major championships performance of her burgeoning career.

"Last year the plan was to make it to the semi-finals and that's what I did. This time I've learnt a lot about how to deal with the pressure that I get from people. I was underestimating myself at first because last year was the first time that I ran sub 2 minutes. So now it's just an easy thing. I'm used to it." said the African Championships bronze medalist reflecting on her semi-final exit at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Sekgodišo in training at the LC de Villiers Athletics Stadium at the University of Pretoria ahead of the World Championships. Photo Credit: Samuel Sepeng Training Group.

And right on cue, the 21-year-old soaked up the pressure and made good on that promise during the heats of the women's 800m yesterday. Sekgodišo dipped below the 2 minute barrier for the fourth time this season to stop the clock in 1:59.72 and secure automatic qualification to the semi-finals. Having made her Diamond League debut in Rabat last year, the woman who is coached by Samuel Sepeng says they decided to race sparingly in 2023 to ensure that she is ready for Budapest.

"I didn't want to race too much because last year my season didn't go as I planned. I didn't run well at the Commonwealth Games because I raced too much. So this year I decided that there would be no more Diamond Leagues for me because I'm still young and I'll still have time to get there. The plan was just to do the major races, qualify and come back home to train. The rest we'll see there," said the defending champion of the Thembisa Street Mile.

Sekgodišo celebrates winning the national 1500m title in 2022. Photo Credit: ASA Media.

The maturity is evident in this young woman who first grabbed the attention of the South African athletics public when she grabbed the bronze medal at the African Youth Games in 2018 and then bagged her first of six the national senior titles when she won the 800m as a junior a year later. Having shown her ability to compose herself under pressure and with the first box of making it through the heats ticked, what is she expecting of herself for the rounds to come?

"So the plan now is to make it to the final and I know I'm gonna do it. I believe in myself and training has been going well. No injury. I'm injury free. I have no fear anymore. I'm like them. At first it was pressure to see all those big names there, but now I realise they are just like me. So I'll just follow them I' ready to rock it. I'm just ready to raise the South African flag high," she giggled.

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