LESOTHO marathoner Tšepo Mathibille says he is in good shape to defend his Soweto Marathon title he won at he last year’s edition of the race.
The Soweto Marathon will take place in Johannesburg on Sunday and Mathibelle told the Lesotho Times that he intends to make it two in a row at the prestigious South Africa race that attracts the best athletes on the continent.
Mathibelle clocked 2 hours, 19 minutes and 41 seconds to win the 2017 edition of the race beating Sintayehu Legese Yineso of Ethiopia to the M220 000 first prize.
“I have completed my preparations and I now ready to travel to Soweto ahead of the race on Sunday,” Mathibelle told the Lesotho Times.
“I think the preparations went well and I did everything that I was supposed to ready myself for the race and will leave the country on Thursday (today).”
Mathibelle said that he had a tough time when he ran in the Nelson Mandela Race in Durban but said he is confident that he will be at his best at the Soweto Marathon.
“I’m confident that I will defend my title at the Soweto marathon. It’s my goal to win it again. The hunger is there and I’m just waiting for Sunday,” Mathibelle said.
Meanwhile, the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) announced that a huge number of the local athletes have shown interest to represent the country at the Soweto Marathon.
LAAA public relation officer Sejanamane Maphathe said the group is likely to include Jobo Ratooane, who over the weekend won the 10km pre-race for the High Altitude Summer Marathon.
Lesotho’s ‘marathon queen’, Mamoroallo Tjoka, who has won the Soweto Marathon a record seven times, is also likely to be at the race having missed the recent editions as he was serving a drug ban.
Ratooane was the winner in the male category of the race while Makampong Letsie won in the female’s category.
Maphathe said he is confident the local athletes will do well at the Soweto Marathon on Sunday.
“I think most of our athletes are in good shape and I’m confident that they will do well just as they did last year.
“We all know that they enjoy running at the race and will surely rise to the occasion. I saw Khatooane in Mokhotlong over the weekend and he looks to be in good shape,” he said.
The LAAA boss said the High Altitude Summer Marathon’ pre-race which took place at the weekend was well attended.
“It was a good show over the weekend and it was also well attended. It shows that the December Summer Marathon will be well attended from what I have seen we the pre-race,” Maphathe said.