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Diana Lebo Phalula hopes to continue winning ways

Barefoot runner Diana Lebo Phalula says she hopes to continue with her winning ways when she lines-up for the SA Open Championships in Potchefstroom at the weekend.

Phalula, who has been impressive on the roads, will turn to track events this week where she takes on Olympic silver medallist Caster Semenya in the 800m event.

She will also be going for another gold medal in the 5000m event, after she recently won the women’s 5 000m title at the SA Athletics Championships in Pretoria.

“I’m running against Caster next weekend and it’s going to be tough race,” Phalula said.

“But I have been preparing well for this and believe I can do well.

“I’m just going to go for a PB in the 800m so that I can possibly qualify for the Commonwealth games.”

Phalula powered across the finish line in thirty two minutes, 27 seconds (32:27) to set a new personal best over the 10km at the Spar Women’s Challenge road race in Port Elizabeth (PE) on Saturday.

“I’m really happy with this win and how I performed.

“I really love running in Port Elizabeth, the conditions here really suit me and I always manage to do my best.

“I feel great after improving my PB, it has encouraged me to do better in the other races and shows that my training is working and I’m improving.”

Together with Rene Kalmer, Phalula now holds the fourth fastest time by a woman in South Africa over the 10km distance.

Elana Meyer remains the fastest 10km runner in the country, with a time of 31:13 which she set in Budapest in 2001.

Colleen de Reuck holds the second fastest time of 31:16 run in Atlanta in 1996, while Zola Budd is third fastest after posting a 31:42 finish in Oslo in 1984.

The victory in PE was Phalula’s second successive win in the Challenge series after winning the first leg in Cape Town.


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