By Mark Etheridge
After only deciding midweek to test her fitness, Rio Olympics walker Anel Oosthuizen logged up her first international victory in the Czech Republic on Saturday.
Based in Slovakia, Oosthuizen raced the Olomouc 10km championships, and clocked 47min 04sec for the victory in a field of just under 100, which also included former world junior champion Anezka Drahotova.
‘I’m very grateful for the win,’ said Oosthuizen from Europe. ‘It’s definitely a highlight so early in my season to celebrate an international win.
‘I just thought this race would be good preparation for my big race this weekend.’
That race is the Podebrady 20km, also in the Czech Republic.
‘It’s a huge bonus to walk away with gold, and right now I’m feeling really satisfied and blessed.
‘Conditions were definitely warmer than last year when we walked in two degrees Celsius. This year was closer to 20deg, and coming from Africa that helps.’
Said a proud coach Carl Meyer back in South Africa: ‘My instructions to Anel on the morning were “nothing hard, anything below 48min would be good enough in preparation for next week. Today she showed class, character.
‘It’s a proud moment for Anel. Even a prouder moment for her coach, parents, and South Africa. With small wins like these, the big ones become easy.’
You may also like