'I just tell myself to finish the session and you must pray - ask God to help you' - Precious Molepo
Precious Molepo will be one of the athletes to watch when the athletics programme gets underway at the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games which kicked off on Friday. South Africa's 120 member strong team began arriving in the Lesotho capital last week where athletics and swimming are expected to feature strongly for Team SA on the medals table.
Having reached the final of the 400m at World Athletics U20 Championships in Kenya in August, sixteen year old Molepo is expected to win a medal in Maseru. The one-lap specialist says she actually started out as a short distance sprinter. "When I was like nine or ten years old I was sprinting. I was doing 100m and 150m," she told #TheTopRunner during a training session on the verdant grounds of her school athletics track at Prestige College. "Then I came here and moved to 400m. It was hard. Even now it's still hard but I just tell myself to finish the session and you must pray - ask God to help you," she said.
That simple approach to running and training has seen this school girl sweep the accolades before her and despatch athletes two or three years her senior. The Limpopo-born starlet set her 400m personal best of 53.59 in 2020, while setting a new 200m PB of 24.14 seconds in the Girls U17 race at the Twizza Super School Series Regional Qualifier #1 which took place at the Ruimsig Athletics Stadium (Roodepoort) in late September.
Her considerable promise has also caught the eye of American college scouts who are already lining up to sign the Grade 10 pupil to a US College. For a protege who was already included in the senior #Tokyo2021 Olympic preparation squad as a 15-year old, she is taking it all in her stride and aiming to achieve even more in the years to come.
"I wanna break the SA Record (50.05 - Heidi Seyerling-Quinn) first. I wanna run in the World Champs and I wanna be the world record holder," she smiled. Lofty ambitions. But then again, it costs nothing to dream and with her positive attitude and work ethic, anything is truly possible.