Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
THIRD PLACE FOR SHANGE IN MEXICO
Lebogang Shange admitted he struggled to find his best form at the weekend, though he held on to reach the podium at the IAAF Race Walking Challenge event in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Shange completed the 20km race in 1:24:41 to take third place, crossing the line a little more than a minute behind Horacio Nava Reza of Mexico who won in 1:23:32.
While he was more than four minutes outside his SA record of 1:20:06 set in Adelaide last month, Shange believed a hectic travelling schedule in recent weeks had taken its toll.
“I gave it my best. I tried to stay with the race leaders for as long as I could, but towards the end of the race I was getting tired,” said the Tuks-HPC athlete.
“I think all the flying I did over the past two weeks caught up with me.”
His coach, former national record holder Chris Britz, was pleased with Shange’s performance at the race, which was held in warm conditions at 1 100m altitude.
“To take on the Mexicans in their own backyard is never easy,” Britz said.
“I don’t know why, but though Mexicans don’t often feature in other international races, in their own country they’re hard to beat.
“What probably made it slightly more difficult for Lebogang is the fact that the race only started at midday when the temperature is at its hottest. The Mexicans are used to racing in such heat.
“It should also be remembered that they did not race at sea level.”
Britz felt it had been an important step as part of Shange’s learning curve, as he gradually narrowed the gap on the world’s leading race walkers.
“It is important that he gets used to racing in as many different conditions as possible, as well as against different walkers,” Britz said.
“I have no doubt that he has learned something new that will stand him in good stead in the future.”
Shange confirmed he would now focus on his preparation for the national championships in Stellenbosch in April.