Cape Town - Double South African sprint champion Alyssa Conley can be excused for being around the bend with frustration after the African Athletics Championships wrapped up in Durban on Sunday.
Her first frustration came when she was disqualified for false-starting in her 100-metre heat. She regrouped well though and one would have thought a personal best 22.84 seconds time and silver medal in the 200m behind Cote D’Ivoire’s Mari-Josée Ta Lou (22.81) would have gone some way to make up for the earlier disappointment? Not at all.
Conley wanted more.
"Sure, I’m super happy about the personal best [her previous best was 23.00] but bitterly disappointed in my execution once again, I crossed the line and I just knew that the gold medal should have been mine so I guess that explains the disappointed face in the photos of the race," she told Road to Rio 2016.
The Gauteng athlete went not to elaborate on her ‘execution’ or lack of it.
"My form around the bend was not me at all. Usually I execute so well around the bend for some or other reason, this time the bend was my weakest point. That meant I had to work extremely hard in the straight and for me the race was really, like about a metre short.
"But I’m still happy with my determination, form and conditioning. Running a 22.84 shows that I’m in good shape going to Rio and the Olympics. I just need to carry on working hard."
Looking back at her African Championships and she has to be realistic.
"I knew that the 200m was my best bet in terms of getting a gold medal. After a full season in SA prior to going to Europe and then another busy season there, I knew that the body, at this point of time anyway, would only be able to handle the intensity of the 200m."
As for her expectations from Rio Conley carries confidence forward.
"Running 22.84 shows that I’m in shape going to Rio. I just need to carry on working hard, my goal will be another personal best in Rio and also pushing to making the final.
"So I’m happy condition wise, in Rio I’ll race both sprints with hopes for personal bests in both. The encouraging thing is knowing that there are areas that I can tweak to improve I am in faster shape. For now it’s just about execution, execution and execution.
"But coming back after three years out it can only be upward and onwards and I’m looking forward to the future."
As always Conley gave thanks to her team.
"It definitely takes a team to be victorious. My coach [Morne Nagel] is great, always keeping me calm and motivating me. His planning is simply amazing and what has got me to this point in my career.
"In previous seasons I would run wherever, do whatever. This year I’ve stuck to my plan and that’s why I’m performing. Ruan [Fourie], the physio in Durban, was also amazing and my biokineticist, family, friends who all supported me, combined to make a team which I’m blessed for."