MASERU — Lesotho’s top long-distance runner, Nkhabutlane Motlokoa, is confident of winning the First Takalane Gaborone Marathon on Sunday.
The winner of the marathon will get a diamond and a cash prize of P20 000 (M22 000).
Motlokoa, Lesotho’s national record holder on 2:14:11 seconds in the 42.2km marathon, left for Botswana yesterday.
He told the Lesotho Times before his departure that he was “certain” to win the Gaborone meet.
“I’ve been training hard for this marathon from the beginning of February and I am certain I will win it,” he said.
Motlokoa won the 2008 Cape Town Marathon, came second in the same marathon last year and is the reigning champion of the 21.1km Lesotho High Altitude Marathon.
“It will be my first time running in that country but I still believe my experience will help me to win the race,” he said.
“I’ve been working on (improving my) speed because I’ll be running on a flat setting and in hot weather.”
Lesotho Athletics Amateur Association spokesperson Sejanamane Maphathe has backed Motlokoa to shine in the marathon.
“Motlokoa is a very disciplined athlete,” Maphathe said.
“He is so far the fastest runner in the country, which gives him an advantage over other runners especially after breaking Botswana’s national record.”
Botswana’s national record in the 42.2km marathon is 2:14:57.
Maphathe said experience was likely to carry the day for Motlokoa in the First Takalane Gaborone Marathon.
“He will definitely bring home gold if he stays focused and uses his experience to his advantage,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maphathe said there were 15 other local athletes who will be competing in the Botswana marathon.
“There are 15 more athletes who will be representing the country in that competition,” he said.