Philani Buthelezi targets Olympic qualification outside of South Africa

Philani Buthelezi targets Olympic qualification outside of South Africa

Following his triumph in the Tuks Bestmed half-marathon on Saturday, Philani Buthelezi is not convinced he can achieve the Olympic marathon qualifying time in South Africa.

With only Stephen Mokoka having accomplished the qualifying time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, and 10 seconds thus far, there remains two vacant slots in the three-member SA marathon team. 

Buthelezi, who will be competing at the upcoming Durban International Marathon, which forms part of the Athletics South Africa marathon championships scheduled for April 28, believes shaving five minutes off his time may yet be a stretch too far in local conditions.

"For now, because I have 2:13:09, but 2:08:10 is still too much for me – for now. I can't say I won't do it, but for now it's proven too much for me," said Buthelezi.

"Maybe I can try it, but for now I don't think I can make that time. Maybe I can do 2:10:00 or 2:09:00, and then I can go out and try again.

"Because in Durban, you'll find there's wind or you'll find it's cold, and all these things. But if I can go outside [South Africa], I can attempt that 2:08:10, it's possible."

Buthelezi’s greatest desire is for ASA and Kwa-Zulu Natal Athletics to extend invitations to a formidable line-up of international athletes, which would enhance local runners’ prospects of meeting the stringent qualifying standards. 

"If they can invite those international [runners], it will help us to push to get a good time. Maybe we can get 2:10:00 or 2:09:00, even though it won't help me qualify, it will help me get a good time. But if you are running alone, you won't get that time," he added.

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