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  • Thathe Msimango

Nene targets African crown after setting a new Personal Best in Poland

After years of running consistently running 45 seconds over 400m, Zakithi Nene finally managed to breach the 45 second barrier when he clocked a new personal best of 44.92 during the Janusc Kusocinski Memorial Meeting on Sunday in Poland. Nene finished in a close second to Alexander Ogando of Dominican Republic who clocked 44:68. Speaking to #TheTopRunner, Nene credited his achievement to his coach Victor Vaz for guiding him adding that he is excited to see his hard work finally paying off.

"I think I was supposed to win the race. I even told my coach that this was my race but don't know how I lost it," said Nene during a telephonic interview on his way from Europe to Mauritius for African Athletics Championship which get underway tomorrow (8 June).

Nene in action for South Africa at the World Relays. He is hoping to win his first individual medal at a major championships when he represents the country at the CAA Athletics Championships in Mauritius this week. Photo Credit: ASA Media.

"But you have to give the credit to the guy who won the race. He was superb on the day. I have been hitting 45 seconds for four years now and to finally clock 44 (seconds) excites me a lot. This is my new personal best over the distance too. We have been preparing this for too long with my coach. I have never doubted his decision and abilities. We changed a bit on my finishing as he instructed me that I must be aggressive a bit and the results have come. I'm so happy with the performance on Sunday," he explained.

The 24-year-old two-time SA 400m Champion is now eyeing a continental medal at the 22nd annual CAA Championships in Mauritius. " I don't want to say this is my year. But on my mind is to win a continental medal and be the African Champion," said the UKZN graduate who runs for Fast Feet Track Club.

"I don't want to rush things but I take the race as it comes. This has been my approach since I joined the sport. I have so many ambitions as an athlete just like everyone. Since I have qualified for World Champs now the focus is to reach the finals there. I know the athletes who are going to there as some of whom I competed with during the Olympics Games in Tokyo," he concluded.

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