Sekgodiso comes out of early 'retirement'

Teen track ace eyes mile title

Prudence Sekgodiso leads and win the 800m race during the ASA Athletix Invitational Meet powered by AVANTI at Ruimsig Athletics Stadium on March 23, 2021.
Prudence Sekgodiso leads and win the 800m race during the ASA Athletix Invitational Meet powered by AVANTI at Ruimsig Athletics Stadium on March 23, 2021.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi

SA's 800m star Prudence Sekgodiso has made a U-turn on her threat to from athletics after she missed out on competing in the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, in August.  

Sekgodiso, 19, had to withdraw from competition after tested positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the championships. Out of the pain of her disappointment, she expressed the desire to walk away from the sport. However, the talented teen is now looking forward to carry on with her promising athletics career, thanks to the efforts of her coach Samuel Sepeng and her family to convince her to change her mind.

The talented middle-distance runner is slowly regaining her confidence and she is the favourite to win the Spar Thembisa Mile at the Moses Molelekwa Arts Centre, next to Makhulong Stadium, on Sunday. 

“The preparations are on track. Prudence is fit to race the mile and over the disappointment of the world champs. It was not easy for us to convince her to change her mind. It was hard to convince her not to quit. She wanted nothing to do with athletics and blamed herself for what happened. She felt that her hard work of preparations for the world champs went down the drain. We told her that these things happen and that it’s not her fault,” said Sepeng.

Her comeback however happened earlier this month, when she represented University of Pretoria in the University Sport SA Cross-Country Championships in Free State.

In Thembisa tomorrow, the Limpopo-born Sekgodiso will also be enticed by the R4,000 incentive for a new course record. The current mark of 4min44sec is held by veteran Lebo Phalula-Luthuli.

Sepeng however said their focus is not on breaking the record but on crossing the finish line first.

“Money is the last thing I discuss with my athletes. We are not concerned with the record but with winning the race. We want to change the level of middle-distance running in SA. If she breaks the record, it will be a bonus. I want to see her cross the finish line in good condition, knowing that she gave her best,” he explained.

In total, Sepeng has six athletes taking part in the mile.  

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