• Thathe Msimango

Snyman ready for Race Walking Challenge Permit Meeting in Slovakia as part of Olympic preparation

South African race walker Wayne Snyman will kick off his international season by participating in the World Athletics Dudince 50 Race Walking Permit race on Saturday in Slovakia. Snyman had already secured his spot in the Olympic 20km race walking event when he produced a personal best 1:20:17 at a race in Podebrady in the Czech Republic in 2019. He is hoping to use the race as part of his preparations for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in Japan.

"Coming to Slovakia, I think it's important since races are not going on at the moment ," explains Snyman. He believes that what will be his season opener came at the right time as he gets ready for the Olympics. Even though he faced hurdles with getting his visa to travel, he is pleased to race again. "This was one of the confirmed races so coming here is good for me. I planned to start my season in March then race till May then hopefully again in June for the Africa games," he said.

Snyman in action at the 2019 World Championships in Doha where he finished in 38th place in a time of 1:43:57. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

"The challenge I had to face was to get to the embassy where I had to apply for the visa. The Slovakian embassy was very difficult to get hold off since it was closed. But eventually, once we got hold of the right guy, things moved perfectly well. I think the second challenge was to get the right flight and I eventually had to fly via Vienna, Austria in order to reach here. So I needed to find a good airline and the country to land in. The race has proven to have fast results and it's a bit cold over here and hope it stays like this till Saturday," he told #TheTopRunner from Vienna.

The 36-year-old Welkom-born athlete says his level of fitness is good because he has been training consistently since November. He is hoping for good results on race day. "I have gone specific with my preparation and my training has gone very well," elaborates Snyman. "I haven't really missed any training session. I think I only missed four sessions since November and that was due to sickness. I don't come to a race with the mindset that I will lose, so I'll give it my all. Over the years I have been professional with my preparation especially closer to race day. The race has a strong field and that's good because it will bring the best out of me."


Snyman goes head to head with Lebogang 'Daywalker' Shange at the 2016 SA Senior Track & Field Championships. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

Snyman who represented South Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympics aims for more international races to improve his time. He feels the lessons he learned in Rio when he finished in 58th position in 20km (1:29:20) will be crucial in Japan. "International times have gone increasingly fast and that was expected because everyone is happy to race," says Snyman. "If I can get races like I planned from now on, then August will be a special time for me. My first Olympics in Rio, I wasn't happy with my placing. But this time, the planning has gone well and the preparation has been good. I've got a coach (Robert Heffernan) who watches my every move. If I can get my blocks right then Tokyo is going to be a good time," he said.

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