PON Athlete

Runner Naibaho attributes win to divine help

Runner Naibaho attributes win to divine help

Jakarta runner Odekta Elvina Naibaho celebrates her victory in the PON XX women's marathon at the Freeport Complex, Kuala Kencana, Mimika, Papua, on Saturday (October 9, 2021). (ANTARA PHOTO/Aditya Pradana Putra/tom)

I kept praying 'God help me maintain my consciousness till the finish line' during my run
Mimika, Papua (ANTARA) - Long-distance runner Odekta Elvina Naibaho attributed her win in the XX National Games (PON) women's marathon on Saturday to divine assistance.

"I kept praying 'God help me maintain my consciousness till the finish line' during my run," Naibaho said at the athletics venue at Kuala Kencana Complex in Mimika, Papua.

The long-distance runner said she was traumatized by her defeat in the women's marathon final of the 2019 SEA Games. At the time, she had failed to complete the final race after collapsing due to heatstroke.

She said the SEA Games debacle haunted her so much that she kept praying to God to help her maintain her pace and consciousness at PON XX, adding that she feared a repeat of 2019.

"I strived to maintain my running pace while motivating myself to remain conscious. I also prayed to God to assist me until the finish line," Naibaho remarked.

Naibaho, who was born in November 1991, said she was exhausted after participating in the 5,000 m and 10,000 m women's sprint earlier, yet her determination to finish the run paid off as she finished the marathon in 2 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to gain gold.

She also broke her personal record of 2 hours, 55 minutes, and 31 seconds, achieved in the 2016 PON XIX in West Java.

The marathon medal was her third in the PON XX. She also won gold medals in the 5,000 m and 10,000 m women's sprints.

"I present my gold medals for God, my family, my team, and all Jakarta residents who supported and lent their prayers for me," Naibaho remarked.

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