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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I'm looking forward to 2023' - Prudence Sekgodišo ready for World Cross Country Champs

After a breakthrough 2022. Prudence Sekgodišo is excited about what lies in store for the season ahead. The 21-year-old captured the national middle distance double when she won both the 800m and the 1500m at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships in Cape Town in April, before going on to win a bronze medal in her specialist 2-lap event at the African championships in Mauritius two months later.

"My 2022 was great!" she told #TheTopRunner. "I enjoyed it a lot. I ran the Diamond League and it was amazing and I'm looking forward to 2023. Hopefully I'll make it to the Diamond League final and the World Champs and All Africa Games," said the woman who is coached by Samuel Sepeng and set her personal best of 1:58:22 last May.

Sekgodiso celebrates after smashing her personal best by four seconds to win a maiden 1500m title at the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships at the Greenpoint Stadium. Photo Credit: ASA Media/Tladi.

It may surprise some to find out that before 2022, the woman who is coached by Samuel Sepeng had never broken the magical 2-minute barrier before. But in the space of just two months, she ran under 2 minutes thrice and qualified for her very first senior Athletics World Championships event. Although the woman who hails from Polokwane but now lives and trains in Pretoria failed to reach the final in Eugene, Oregon, the experience of routinely dipping under 120 seconds left her confident.

"It was tricky though but we did it so hopefully we are gonna go for the SA Record this year. Hopefully! I don't know," she laughed. That will take some doing. But the defending champion of the Thembisa Street Mile has the advantage having Sepeng in her corner - the same man who was part of the Caster Semenya team when the double Olympic Champion set that national record of 1:54.25 back in 2018.

Sekgodišo is part of a strong SA Mixed Relay team. Photo Credit: ASA Media.

But before she can set her sights on eclipsing Semenya's mark, Sekgodišo will have to run alongside The Cobra in the green and gold at the World Cross Country Championships tomorrow. The two are part of South Africa's mixed 4 x 2km relay team that includes 2019 SA 1500m champion Ryan Mpahlele and reigning SA 800m champion Tshepo Tshite. The strength of the team has many excited about the possibility of a top five placing out of the fifteen nations that will contest the race.

"The training has gone well so I just can't wait to race," she smiled. The World Cross Country Championships take place in Bathurst, Australia for the first time since 2019 on what is being called 'the toughest course ever.' The race will be run on the grass sections alongside a motorsport track and is complete with obstacles such as rows of carefully stacked racing car tyres which runners will have to weave around or even leap over. Those in the SADC region can catch the day's action on SuperSport from 06H30 (CAT).

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