Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Thieves run away with Matlhaku’s training spikes

Botswana women’s national team track athlete Leungo Matlhaku has fallen victim to a string of worrisome burglary incidents at her home village of Kumakwane.

It has since emerged that thieves broke into her house this past weekend and went away with her entire training kit given to her by Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) technical sponsors Nike.

Among the items stolen from the Botswana women’s 100m national record holder are her running shoes which are valued at just over P2000.

‘Fruit,’ as the petite athlete is affectionately known, is now faced with an unlikely race against time to find a new pair of spikes and training gear ahead of the new athletics season which is expected to get underway in the next month.

Speaking to The Telegraph, a dejected Matlhaku said she desperately needs the spikes back before the new running season commences.

“Following the break-in a few days ago, they only managed to take my travelling bag with my training apparels that included the spikes and trainer shoes that were given to me by the athletics association just a few weeks ago. I really need the spikes back as I am preparing for the upcoming athletics season next month,” Matlhaku told The Telegraph.

After missing out on the ticket to the just ended Tokyo Olympics, the athlete will now be looking forward to making up for some lost time with next year’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the Oregon 22 World Athletics Championships in mind.

Despite missing on a slot to compete at Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Matlhaku had a stellar season ahead during the qualifiers this year as she broke Botswana women’s long standing 100m national record. The pintsized sprinter clocked 11.24 seconds during the Sports View meet in Gaborone to break the then 11.39 seconds national record held by Lydia Jele since 2014.

While she is regarded as the fastest woman short sprinter athlete within the country’s borders, Matlhaku has also shown she is capable in the 400m distance and is part of the Botswana women’s 4X400m relay team.

Some of the honors in her career include a Bronze medal in the 4X400m relay at the African championships were held in Marrakech, Morocco and another Bronze medal with the relay team at the Gold Coast, Australia Commonwealth Games in 2018.

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