Just four years ago, Miranda Coetzee could never have wrapped her head around the fact that she’d be an international track athlete.
It was only in 2019 that the former netballer decided to take athletics seriously and started training in earnest. Since then, Coetzee has been lowering her personal best times with regularity and is now on the cusp of competing at her second World Athletics Championships.
“To be honest, I never thought that I would make the national team or I would be going to world champs and all that, so I’m very happy with where I am right now,” she admitted.
The PUMA athlete made a statement earlier this year by claiming a 200-400m double at the South African Championships in Potchefstroom – both in personal best times. Since then she’s dipped under the 51-second mark over 400m for the first time this June in Spain. The 25-year-old reckons racing in Europe over the last few months has been an excellent learning experience.
“One thing that I never did before was analysing my races, so having a lot of races in Europe actually helps you see the mistakes that you made in previous races and you’re able to correct them in the next race,” she explained.
“Also being able to compete with people that I will be competing with at world champs gave me a heads up to see where I am. I’m also happy that my times improved a lot.”
Coetzee made her World Championships debut in Oregon last year where she finished 41st overall in the 400m heats after running a time of 53.30. She’ll certainly be looking to improve on that when this year’s championships kick off on Saturday in Budapest.
“Last year I was actually new to everything so everything was a learning experience for me. I was a bit scared, and I wasn’t strong mentally. I’ve learnt to be strong and take each race or competition as it comes, I believe in myself more than I did last year, so I really hope I make a difference this year.”
The World Athletics Championships take place in Budapest from 19-27 August with the women’s 400m heats set to be contested on Sunday morning.