Shange set to chase his medal dream in Gold Coast

Lebogang Shange (Gallo Images)
Lebogang Shange (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Lebogang Shange has been threatening to win a medal in the 20-kilometre race walk at a major event since 2015 - on Sunday morning he may get to do just that.

Earlier this year he won a race in Mexico, but it was with his performance at last year's World Championships in London that the HPC athlete proved that the days where he allowed himself to be intimidated by the world's best are behind him.

Shange moved up from 20th at halfway and 23 seconds in arrears, and then went through the field like a man on a mission to take the lead.

He was still in the front going into the last lap, but unfortunately ran out of steam over the final two kilometres and finished fourth. His effort, however, was not in vain.

According to Team SA, he clocked a time of 1hr 19min 18sec which was 48 seconds faster than the South African record he set in 2016 in Adelaide.

"I know I surprised a lot of people last year in London, but they should not have been," he told Team SA.

"I'm on top of my game just like the rest of the world's best race walkers. What's nice is that I'm starting to earn respect from my rivals. They are now wary of me every time I get to race them as they know I am capable of beating them."

Shange has made it clear in the past that as far as he's concerned there can be nothing more special than to win a medal for South Africa at the World Championships or any of the multi-code Games.

"It's something I've been dreaming of ever since I started to compete. To win a medal for South Africa will be an honour for me."

The race walker is realistic regarding the challenge that awaits him at the Games.

"It's not going to be easy. Canada, England India and Australia all have got good race walkers. There are at least 10 athletes who have a realistic chance to win the gold medal. The important thing for me will be to focus on my race plan," he said.

"It will be a mistake for me to go out with the race leaders from the start. I tend to panic and doubt in my abilities if I do so.

"I will do as I have done last year in London and recently in Mexico. I will start off at a pace I am comfortable at for the first few kilometres. In Mexico, I made my move after the 8km marker. The moment I did, so I dominated the race."

If the Shange can have his way, he will be hoping conditions will be hot and humid when the races start as that is when he usually at his best.

Another athlete, South African champion, Wayne Snyman could also cause a big surprise on the day.

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