PUMA has signed a partnership with multiple South African champion and Olympian Precious Mashele that will see the sports brand supply the distance runner with technical running product including apparel, accessories and footwear to carry him through to the next Olympics.

Mashele, who competed at his first Olympic games in Japan earlier this year and has national championship titles in cross country, 5,000m on the track, 10km on the road and half marathon distance, said he joined the PUMA family as he had been looking for an opportunity to work with a brand that could help him get to the next level.

“2021 has been a good year for me. I learnt a lot about myself and I also understood how I can inspire young kids from the village with my story of never giving up. PUMA can help to share that story. I also like to thank Ntate Michael Meyer for helping to make sure that this happens. I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Mashele, who hails from the village of Ga-Maraba in the Limpopo province.

Mashele runs in PUMA’s Deviate Nitro Elite, part of the brand’s new running shoe range. “I run in the Deviate Nitro Elite. They suit me because I do most of my training on grass which is good for building my muscles. Then when I race on the road, I have that extra bounce which I can feel in the shoes, which helps me to run faster,” explained Mashele, who wore his new running shoes when he won the ASA 10km National Championships which formed part of the ABSA Durban 10km CITYRUN on Sunday 31 October 2021.

“Precious is one of the shining lights of South African distance running and joins our growing family of track and road runners,” said Brett Bellinger, Marketing Director of PUMA South Africa. “We will work with Precious to realise his goals of breaking national records, excelling on the global stage and inspiring local young athletes.”

The 31-year-old, who is coached by Hendrick Ramaala, set a PB in October when he came in fourth at the PKO Poznan Half Marathon in Poland in a time of 60 minutes flat. He believes he could have gone significantly faster: “I had a very long trip to Poland. I left SA on the Thursday and arrived in Poznan in the early hours of Saturday morning. I believe that if my travel hadn’t been so long, I could have run better than I did because I was mentally ready to win the race. I believe I was in shape to break Stephen Mokoka’s national record of 59:36. I have it in me to run that fast.”

Mashele’s goals for 2022 are to qualify for either the 5,000m or 10,000m at the World Championships in Oregon, USA. “I will also continue running 10km and half marathon races in SA and the plan is to dominate in those events while racing overseas when there is an opportunity,” he said.

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