MARATHON queen Mamoroallo Tjoka says she is firmly focused on the future and has put behind her the recent troubles she has endured.
Tjoka said this in a media briefing early this week after winning Sunday’s Mandela Day Marathon in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa which carried a M100 000 winner’s purse.
This was her second victory since returning from a two year doping ban. She won a car at the Zululand Ultra Marathon in March this year.
Speaking with the local media for the first time since her return, Tjoka said it took desire and hard work to continue shining despite the setbacks.
“I did not throw in the towel, but used that as a motivation to comeback stronger,” Tjoka said.
“I do not want to talk about what happened in the past. I have put it behind me and I’m focused on the future.”
She said she trained hard knowing it would take something special to beat Ethiopian Selem Abere who had won the Pietermaritzburg race for the previous two years in a row.
The 32-year old told this publication that she was now wiser and would not run every race that came her way to avoid injuries and stay in good shape.
“I am not sure of my next move but would like to run at the High Altitude Summer Marathon in Mokhotlong in December and I might do smaller races such as the 10km and 21km.
“I have not made a decision about the Soweto Marathon but I will run the smaller Or Tambo Half-marathon and another in Bloemfontein.
“I am wiser now and aware that I should not overload my body and invite unnecessary injuries by running too many races.
“I have to rest my body and take good care of it to continue performing well at the higher stage for more years.”
Meanwhile, the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) Public Relations Officer, Sejanamane Maphathe, praised Tjoka as well as Ramolefi Motsieloa who finished fourth in the male category.
“Both athletes are shining again after coming from two year suspensions.
“Both could have won but Motsieloa tired in the final kilometre and was overtaken by the Ethiopians.
“Young athletes should learn from these two not to give up under any circumstances because life comes with challenges.
“They were punished for being ignorant enough to use banned substances to recover quickly from injuries using banned,” Maphathe said.
He said it was good that the duo were back to represent Lesotho and he also reserved special praise for Tjoka who had matured enough to refrain from overloading herself with too many races.
“As for Tjoka, she is now very smart and will not overwork her body by running in almost every race.
“She ran her first race in March since returning and the second only came months later,” he said.