Diamond League meeting: disappointing SA team will be hoping for improved performances at the Olympics

2012-07-25 00:00

SOUTH Africans will be hoping it is the calm before the storm following three disappointing results at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco on Friday.

Andre Olivier had the best of the results, finishing sixth in a quality 800 m field in a time of 1:44.29. Kipchirchir Rotich won in 1:43.13, with the top five breaking 1:44.

Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokeona, the only South African to bring a medal back from Beijing in 2008, was last in the long jump where he only managed to put a 7,75 m leap onto the scoreboard. Panama’s long-time world leader Irving Saldina was the best of the eight-man field with 8,16 m

Caster Semenya, who will carry the flag for Team SA in this weekend’s Olympic opening ceremony, also failed to perform — recording a 2:01.67 for ninth in the 800 m

The Olympic Athletics begin 10 days after this competition, which means these performances can be turned around when the athletes have the opportunity to settle into the village and recover from travel that has seen them continent-hopping over the last few weeks.

Rene Kalmer won the Durban leg of the Totalsports 10 km women’s race in a time of 34:21, well ahead of Poppy Mlambo who could only muster a 36:27 on the twisty but flat course.

Pusaletso Dladla was the first local home in third place in 36:41.

Kalmer, who led from the gun and was never in doubt of being caught, left for London two days later and will now prepare for the Olympic Marathon on August 5.

“The [London] course is full of twists and turns,” said the Nedbank athlete. “I don’t expect fast times and would hope to keep close to the leaders and see what happens.”

The conditions and high level of competition should see all three South Africans break the 2:30 barrier in 10 days time.

The running fraternity has embraced the Mandela Day Marathon with enthusiasm as the 466 initial limit set by the organisers as a tribute to Madiba was exceeded in little over 100 hours. Entries opened on Wednesday, July 18, and reached the mark by Sunday.

This week the organisers announced that they would extend this to 940 runners for this inaugural run which commemorates the 50th anniversary of Mandela’s capture on the Tweedie road on August 5, 1962.

Entries have already passed the 500 mark and there seems every likelihood that the new limit could again be exceeded before the August 14 closing date, which is 27 days after the opening. This is to mark one day for each year that Mandela was imprisoned.

Entries are avaiklable at all Mr Price Home, Sport and Mr Price shops and also on line at www.mandelamarathon.co.za

Collegians Harriers host their annual 12-Hour Braai Ketts Longest Day event on Saturday commencing at 7 am.

This is a pre-entry event which is held around the grass track with the inside lane runners completing three laps per kilometre. The winner can be expected to cover over 120 km and runners need to complete at least 80 km to qualify for a medal.

Around 100 runners and walkers will attempt the event and spectators and supporters are welcome to come and enjoy the day.

Up the North Coast uMhlathuze host the 16 km Mfuli Game Farm run outside Empangeni on Saturday at 2 pm.

Lionel Qwabe has more details of this scenic event at 084 429 0305

On Sunday there’s a half marathon and 10 km event from KK Stadium in Clemont. Both distances include walks with the start at 6 am. Mazwi Makhathini has the full information at 072 838 7947.

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