The goddess of long distances, Onneile Dintwe continued to raise the Botswana flag as she retained the Gaborone Diacore marathon 21.1km title, crossing the line in 1:20:51 on Sunday.
The runner beat fatigue as she had just competed at the Spar Women’s series in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Saturday. After the series, Dintwe took the long journey back to Gaborone to compete on Sunday morning. She used her experience to defend her championship. Dintwe was making a come back to the local competitions after being sidelined by an injury in January.
“I started preparing for this race last year after winning it for the first time. My preparations were hampered by an injury, so coming here I did not anticipate winning. I did not want to put myself under pressure. I just wanted to start and finish the race,” she said.
Dintwe said she did not encounter any difficulties along the course. Meanwhile, Dintwe gave credit to her number two, Mema Tiango. She said Tiango was a good runner with a bright future in long distance running. She encouraged her to read books and also learn from other runners.
“Training hard does not mean training everyday. It means being smart and focusing on your goal,” she said.
For her part, Tiango said her downfall was due to cramps that she suffered during the race. She told Mmegi Sport that she started the race well until the last five kilometres when cramps hit her. Tiango finished in second position in a time of 1:23:00.
“That is when I lost the race. I had prepared well for the race, but I take it next time I will come with a better strategy. The presence of Dintwe was a motivation. She is my role model,” she said. Joyce Tau finished third.
The 42.2km men’s race was won by Paulus Iiyambo from Namibia Defence Force in a time of 2:18:57.
He said the race was tough, which is why he opted for a slower starting pace. Iiyambo complained that there were mistakes in the course made by marshals.
“There was a mix up on how the loops should be. This is not the time that we were not supposed to run,” he said.
His teammate, Simon Shipingana came second with Obed Kopong from South Africa finishing third.
Other results: 10km men: 1. Thabang Mosiako (South Africa), 2. Sylvester Koko, 3. Philimon Mathiba. Women: 1. Marea Maano, 2. Lame Nare, 3. Gaone Bathoeng.
Men (21km): 1. David Manja (South Africa), 2. Joel Mohau Mmonee, 3. Rapula Diphoko.
Women (42.2km): Ndeshimona Ekandio (Namibia), Ottilie Aimwata, 3. Mantshapelo Badumetse.