Mashele confident he'll qualify for Tokyo Olympics

Runner in race against June 29 deadline

Runners in action at the SA Half Marathon Championships which was held at Pollock Beach. Pictured here: Male winner Precious Mashele crosses the finish line.
Runners in action at the SA Half Marathon Championships which was held at Pollock Beach. Pictured here: Male winner Precious Mashele crosses the finish line.
Image: Werner Hills

SA middle-distance star Precious Mashele is not losing sleep over his struggle to qualify for the Olympic Games.

in Tokyo, Japan, next month.

With the cutoff date of June 29 to qualify for the Tokyo Olympiad approaching fast, Mashele finds himself in a race of his life to meet the 5000m qualifying standard. 

He and his coach Hendrick Ramaala, a four-time Olympian, are hard at work at the Zoo Lake, Johannesburg, trying to come up with ways to improve his times.

Speaking after his training session yesterday, the Limpopo-born runner told Sowetan he feels he will his ticket to Japan in his next race.  

The SA Olympic standard qualifying time for 5000m is 13:13:50 and Mashele's personal best at this distance is 13:23:66.

“I will accept my fate if I do not qualify because it will be the will of God. I would like to run in Cape Town and if I get the opportunity to run there [at Green Point], I will be able to qualify. The wind ruined my chances in Durban last week. If conditions allow at my next race, I will qualify," said Mashele.

It is not clear when and where he will get a 5000m race to run but the talented athlete said that he is not panicking yet as his training partners and coaching team at Zoo Lake are working hard to help him achieve on his goal.

“We have the fitness and need one more race to do it. I do not stress about having not qualified yet. I want to get there, but I have to stay positive and allow God to guide me," said the optimistic Mashele.

This year he has won the 10km national cross country title, the SA 5000m title, and the SA 21km title. However, the Olympic qualification is proving a bit of a challenge for him.

“I don't want to make up excuses. The 13:13:50 time is doable. I just need another chance and I will prove it."

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