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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'I'm very patient. The progress is better than I thought' - Charne Swart eyes World Student Games

As one of the standout middle distance performers of 2023, Charne Swart is a runner on the rise. At the end of 2022, the 21-year-old held a 2:06.98 800m personal best, a mark which she has since bettered no less than six times this year. Her improvement has been remarkable as she has taken more than three seconds off that previous PB and is now the owner of an impressive 2:03.28 lifetime best. Swart says she is really enjoying her training and that is the secret to her 2023 success.

Charne Swart wins the 800m in 2:04.74 at the second ASA Grand Prix Meet at the Germiston Stadium. Photo credit: Tumelo Mabua.

"It's been my best training year ever," she told #TheTopRunner during the ASA Grand Prix Series during which she set her new lifetime best when she finished third behind Prudence Sekgodišo and Botswana's Oratilwe Nowe at the Bestmed Tuks Stadium in Pretoria. "I haven't had any big injuries so it's been a lot of consistency from my side."

Her performances during the three ASA Grand Prix meets which included victory at the Germiston Stadium in Johannesburg in 2:04.74 earned her an invitation to compete at the prestigious Botswana Golden Grand Prix in Gaborone where she came within milliseconds of improving on her PB thanks to a 2:03.31 sixth place finish. It means that the woman who took the bronze medal at the national championships last month, will be a favourite for the gold medal at the University Sports South Africa Championships which take place in Bloemfontein later this week.

Swart claims the bronze medal for Athletics Gauteng North (AGN) in the 800m in 2:05.92 as Prudence Sekgodišo took gold and Genna Löfstrand silver at the 2023 ASA Senior Track and Field Championships at the McArthur Stadium in Potchefstroom. Photo credit: Lifutso Mabua.

Having already qualified for the World Student Games which takes place in China in July, the University of Pretoria top runner says this will be the focus of her season as opposed to qualifying (1:59.80s) for the World Championships scheduled for Budapest, Hungary in August. In order to do well at the Universiade, the woman who also clocked a 1500m lifetime best of 4:15.99 two weeks ago, says her training sessions have been geared towards getting close to that magical 2 minute mark.

"I've qualified for the World Students so hopefully that will happen. I don't know about Budapest because I'm still a bit far out but hopefully Paris will be closer next year. I really hope I can get as close to two minutes as possible this season. My training shows that I can, so I'm just waiting for the right race. I'm very patient. The progress is better than I thought I would do this season," she smiled.

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