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Ramakongoana basks in USA marathon glory

Business

Seabata Mahao

Lesotho’s long distance running sensation, Tebello Ramakongoana has spoken out after clinching the Bloomsday 10-kilometre marathon in Washington, the United States of America (USA) last weekend.

Ramakoangoana, who will represent Lesotho in the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games, finished first out of 27, 884 runners, clocking in at 34:40 minutes to set a new national record in the process.

The win also came in Ramakongoana’s first appearance in the Bloomsday tournament.

For his efforts, the Qacha’s Nek native also won himself a cash prize of an estimated M 129 129.70 and a further M276 742.50 bonus as Bloomsday was the site of the Professional Road Running Organisation (PRRO) championship.

In an exclusive interview with Newsday Sports this week, the 27-year old Ramakongoana said he was grateful to have won the international race as a debutant.

“Even though it was raining and cold which made my body not to respond very well, I managed to win the race by increasing my pace immediately after taking the lead. I told myself that I am winning this race as I did not let anyone to out run me,” Ramakongoana said.

He credits training in the mountainous and high altitude Lesotho highlands for preparing him for the gruelling race.    

“I pushed myself very hard when climbing the hills to make sure that I reach the top first knowing that on the other side of the hill, it is the finish line. One of the reasons I won is because I am used to running in the hills of Lesotho.”

Makara Thibinyane, the Federation of Athletic Lesotho (FAL) Secretary General, congratulated Ramakongoana for winning the 10-km marathon race in the US, and confirmed that he had indeed set a new national record of 34:40 minutes in the 10- kilometre marathon.

Ramakongoana is one of the only two athletes alongside Taekwondo star, Michelle Tau, who have qualified to represent Lesotho in the Olympic Games, to be held in Paris, France this year.

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