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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

Nene targets national success after doing the double at KZNA Champs

Reigning national 400m champion Zakithi Nene believes that consistency will be the key to ensuring that he performs well against world class athletes this year. Over the weekend, Nene reigned supreme as he took both the 200m and 400m titles during the KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) senior and masters Track & Field Championship held at the Umsunduzi Athletics Stadium in Pietermaritzburg. The 24-year-old Nene says the victories will boost his momentum heading to the ASA Senior Track and Field Championships which takes place in Potchestroom later this month where the World University Games silver medalist will seek to defend his one lap title.

Nene was in dominant mood at the KZNA Senior Track and Field Championships over the weekend where he defeated the likes of Anaso Jobodwana to win the 200m (20:89) and then took his specialist event in 46:02 as well. Photo Credit: Cuan Walker.

"I think to win these provincial titles means a lot to me. I must get used to winning especially going to the national later this month. The biggest thing for me is to remain at my best," said the New Balance sponsored athlete who has already clocked 45.98 for his specialist event this season. And after the success he enjoyed in 2022 the man who hails from the town Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal is confident enough to believe that he can do the national double as well.

"To win both the 200m and the 400m would serve me well. The focus remains is to do well in 400m because I did 200m just to build the speed in order to become more competitive going forward. I still want to retain my 400m title and I think I have done sufficient training to succeed," said the Olympian.

Nene in action for South Africa at the World Relays. After taking fourth place at the 2022 African Championships in Mauritius, Nene is hoping to go at least one better this year by earning a maiden major championships medal. Photo Credit: ASA Media.

And why shouldn't Nene be ambitious after the fruitful year he enjoyed last year? He managed to dip under 45 seconds three times and set a personal best of 44:74 at the Weltklasse, Letzigrund meet in Zurich, Switzerland. With World Championship scheduled to take place in August this year in the Hungarian city of Budapest, Nene aims to build on consistent performances and edge closer to his goal of getting a medal at a global showpiece event. "The main focus is to remain consistent and perform at my level best at all times. I must peak at the right time to do well on the international stage. I believe I have what it takes to obtain a medal on the world stage either at the World Champs or Olympics. So the biggest goal is to either get a medal or reach the finals in these top events. So to achieve that dream I must train hard."

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