Team SA comes short at the World Half Marathon Champs

2014-03-29 17:28

The South African men’s team finished inside the top 20 at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, slightly missing out on a team medal at the global event in Copenhagen, Denmark, today.

The trio of Stephen Mokoka, Elroy Gelant and Lusapho April all ran personal bests but their pace was not enough to catch up with the top five finishers, who all dipped under 60 minutes at the finish.

Mokoka came home first in the group at number 12 in 1:00.46, with Gelant hot on his heels a minute later at 13th in 1:01.09.

April was placed 15th in 1:01.15 in a race that was won by Kenyan Geoffrey Kipsang, in a world leading time of 59:07.

Samuel Tsegay of Eritrea took silver in 59.20 while Guye Adola of Ethiopia settled for a bronze in 59:20.

Eritria took a team gold in a race that was concluded by 109 runners.

The fast-paced race also saw 14 of the top 20 finishers attain personal bests.

In the women’s section, Team SA did not succeed either, as Rene Kalmer (27th in 1:11.52), Jenna Challenor (47th in 1:14.19) and Cornelia Joubert (66th in 1:19.09) – out of 88 finishers – finished way outside the medals in a race that Kenya took to the podium in a historic 1-2-3 finish.

The east African country also won a team gold medal.

The hunt for a world half marathon medal continues for South Africa since Hendrick Ramaala (silver in 1998 and 1999) and Elana Meyer (gold in 1994 and silver in 1998) remain the country’s only success at the global 21km championships.

Only the South African men’s team have won a team medal – gold in 1999 and silver in 1997.

The next world half marathon will be held in Cardiff, UK, in 2016.

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