"The aim wasn't to chase Ryan. The aim was to run my splits," says Tshite after deposing King Ryan
While it was Caster Semenya’s sub 9 minute run that received top billing, it was the men’s 1500m race that delivered the goods during the second ASA Grand Prix Series Meet at the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town last night. Semenya set the tone early in the meet, running behind training partner Glenrose Xaba for much of the race before taking the lead to win the women’s 3000m in a new personal best time of 8:54.97. And after that performance the stage was set for an epic duel between Ryan Mphahlele and Tshepo Tshite in the metric mile.
“I’d like to thank God for the strength he gave me. Things went according to plan. The aim wasn’t to chase Ryan, the aim was to run my splits and go 55 seconds first lap, then 1:54, then 2:24. The aim wasn’t to chase him, he just came back to me,” laughed the two-time national 800m champion just moments after taking King Ryan in the home straight to cruise to victory in the world lead and new personal best time of 3:36.09 to Mphahlele’s 3:36.86.
“Our approach this year is different,” he told #TheTopRunner when asked about the preparation that he did with coach Samuel Sepeng for the race. “Our focus is more on endurance, that’s why I’m running a lot of 1500m races this year. It’s because our focus is more on endurance. We are trying something new year, so maybe we are gonna get 1:43.”
Having arrived in Cape Town with training parter Elvis Mokhonoana on Monday to acclimatise to the sometimes blustery conditions in The Mother City, Tshite clearly had a plan for what could be described as the breakthrough race of a fledgling 1500m career. And although the diminutive 25-year old has already represented the country at the 2019 World Championships in Doha over two laps, last night’s commanding performance coupled with his modest 800m personal best of 1:44.69 confirmed what many already believed - that his true distance could be the metric mile.
“Most people say so. Ya! In future we want to focus on 1500m. If I can get 1:43 then we are gonna focus, because at the moment we are changing our approach to add more endurance. So if I can get 1:44 consistently then I’ll be happy. That’s the aim. Then if I get 1:43, then I’m going to take them on in the 1500m,” he concluded.
The ASA Grand Prix Series is broadcast exclusively on SuperSport. Check your local listings for broadcast schedules of the next meeting in Potchefstroom on April 6.