Blind athlete Louzanne Coetzee targets podium at Paralympic Games
FILE PICTURE: Diana-Lebo Phalula. (Photo by Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images)
Phalula was handed keys to a brand-new car at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg on Tuesday after coming out tops in the five-race Spar Women’s 10km Challenge series.
She finished the eighth edition of the Grand Prix series with 110 points.
“I’m happy with performance this year, it has been a great year,” Phalula said.
“I moved from Vaal to Pretoria, leaving my husband alone, just to focus on my running without a lot of distractions.”
Phalula won the first two races, in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, in record time, and finished among the top four in Durban and Pretoria.
“I couldn’t believe it after I won the first race, I didn’t think I was in great shape,” she said.
“But I managed to well in most of my races, coming up against tough competitors and it encouraged me to do well and stay on course.
“My main goal was to break the SA record in Durban, but it didn’t happen because I was injured. I will never give up though and will keep on trying to reach my goal.”
Three-time Grand Prix winner Rene Kalmer finished the year second on the log with 81 points, while 2013 champion, Mapaseka Makhanya came in third with 78 points.
Phalula’s twin sister, Lebogang, who won the Durban and Johannesburg races, placed fourth on the table, with two-times Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl rounding up the top five.
Phalula said she was currently in a training camp in Pretoria, building up for next season.
“There is no break if you want to achieve a lot of things and that’s why I’m already working and preparing for next year,” she said.
“I want to come back and win the Grand Prix and also want to qualify for the Cross-country World Championships in March and for the track and field World Championships in August.”
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