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iaaf.org - Improved speed propels Montsho’s advance in Monaco – Samsung Diamond League

Published by Chris Nickinson
Jul 23 2011, 01:47 PM | 1637 views
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Saturday, 23 July 2011

Improved speed propels Montsho’s advance in Monaco – Samsung Diamond League


Monaco - Botswana’s Amantle Montsho, the world's most impressive 400 metres runner this year after her victory last night at the Herculis Monaco meeting – Samsung Diamond League - played down her status as favourite to win the gold medal at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Korea (27 August - 4 September).


The 28-year-old, a veteran of three previous Championships in Helsinki ‘05, Osaka ’07 and Berlin ’09, the latter where she was eighth and last, has only set herself the lesser target of again just reaching the final.


Montsho insists that, despite finishing second to Allyson Felix in last year’s Diamond Race standings and having won five of her seven races this season highlighted by her national record of 49.71 seconds last night in Monaco, it would be wrong to assume a gold awaited her in Korea.

 

The 2008 and 2010 African champion, who also took the 2010 Commonwealth Games crown, needs no reminding and her body language shows she is very respectful that Felix, the only athlete to defeat her this year (in Doha and Rome) is still contemplating a possible  200/400 metres double.


"My country is very proud of me because I'm the first woman to achieve this kind of thing in Botswana," said Montsho who took up athletics when at junior school and aged 11.


"I never thought that would happen even when I was driving hard when I was young,  but now I believe in myself and that I am where I always wanted to be.”


"Now I'm looking towards Daegu but what I really need to do is just concentrate on getting into the final. I'm not thinking about any medals," although the smile on her face following her superb victory in Monaco, which would also have been a world leader if Anastasiya Kapachinskaya had not run 49.35 earlier in the day at the Russian Championships, suggested otherwise.


Montsho who also has two Olympic appearances under her belt - in 2004 she was eliminated in her heat and was a finalist three years ago in Beijing - makes no secret that the excellent facilities of the IAAF High Performance Training Centre in Dakar, Senegal, has played a major part in turning her into a world class performer.


Training abroad means that she is separated from her mother and father and all of her other friends in the remote village of Mahou where she learned so early how to run so quickly but a necessary sacrifice.


"For me I think it is better, because it is better for my athletics," said Montsho, realising that in Botswana where the National Federation was only founded in 1972, remains very much a backwater for the sport.


She admitted; "Sometimes I am missing my home which I feel is very far away but there is nothing I can do. I have to focus on what I am doing, then after I finish my season, I can go back home and relax."


The enforced absence comes at a cost but it allows her to concentrate day and night on the furtherance of a career which has seen her become the country's leading sports person.


Nevertheless Montsho insists there is plenty of room left for improvement. "My (success this year) has not come as a surprise to me because before I have had a problem with my speed. But now I'm working on my speed and doing a lot of 100 and 200 metres, and I must say, I'm getting better."


Montsho who feels she has much more to offer this season after her Monaco victory, revealed: "I'm very happy because the way I was feeling in my body today I knew that I was going to run fast tonight. The way I see myself I know I can run more quickly than 49.71.


"I'm feeling good because I'm not doing too many competitions, only the Diamond League. This was only my seventh race this year."


Montsho who in the past has managed to steer clear of serious injuries, added: I'm still okay. Now I'm going to prepare for Daegu and train in Dakar.”


Dave Martin for the IAAF

Read the full article at http://www.iaaf.org/competitions/dlm/news/newsid=60949.html?cid=rss...


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