Jamaican quartet set the only new record in Daegu

2011-09-05 00:00

HOPES of South Africa equalling its IAAF points score of 38 achieved in Paris 2003 died in a 4x100 metre relay event that saw Jamaica setting the only new world record of the World Athletics Championships on the final day yesterday.

Although a 400 m relay athlete, Ofentse Mogawane was called up to replace injured Simon Magakwe in the second leg. The former national 400 m champion pulled the team from fourth to second on the back straight.

Newcomer Roscoe Engel lost little around the bend. A slight hesitation in the hand-on left Thuso Mpuang with too much to do to qualify, but the Free State sprinter completed an excellent leg to record the fastest time by a South African squad in the last decade.

“We clocked a very good time. It’s our first time together and my first time in the team. We exceeded our expectations,” said Engel, a potential for the future.

The 38,72 clocking put the South Africans fifth behind Trinidad and Tobago, who won in 37,91 in the first-round heat.

The Jamaican quartet went through to the final in second spot. Saint Kitts and Nevis claimed a spot in the final as the second of the fastest losers.

Usain Bolt was brought in for the anchor leg of the final where the Jamaican 4x100 m team provided the perfect performance to bring the curtain down on the IAAF World Athletics Championships. They set a new world record time of 37,04, slicing 0,06 seconds from the time they set in the Beijing Olympics. This was the only world record of the 13th World Championships in Daegu.

In the morning defending world champion Abel Kirui, who was initially overlooked by Kenya’s selectors, won the men’s marathon in 2:07:38.

In the coolest conditions of the championships, Kirui and his Kenyan team were always to the fore with the trio of South Africans — Lucky Mohale, David Ngakane and Coolboy Ngamole — mixing it up with the 20-plus sub 2:09 men, in a move they would pay for later.

“We had looked at the teams and thought we could come third behind Kenya and Ethiopia,” said Ngamole, who had been part of the Berlin team in 2009.

The first 10 km was covered in 31 minutes 21 seconds setting a 2:09 marathon pace.

Kirui made his move before the 25 km mark, stringing the competition out. A blistering 14 minute 17 second five kilometre split put the Kenyan through 35 km in 1:45:34.

At this stage the championship record was endangered, but by 40 km there was only six minutes 15 seconds to cover the 2,195 km.

The champion, who had run alone for the last 15 km, was around 250 metres short, missing his 2:06:54 by 44 seconds.

Over the final third Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa fought out the minor placings with Vincent Kipruto and Eluid Kiptanui, eventually settling for the bronze in a season’s best 2:10:32. Kipruto’s silver was earned in 2:10:06.

At 10 km the South Africans were second behind Kenya.

“I was totally surprised when I saw Lucky. He was very fit, but I was talking to him from five to 15 km because he was trying to push and go,” said Ngamole. “I told him, ‘Let’s go back and stay on the group because if you do this you are going to work for these guys’. At 21 km we all jumped, but at 25 they [Kenyans] started to push. I saw Lucky dropping. At 27 km I heard my body. My hip is almost killing me. I tried to push but there was nothing.”

The inexperienced Mohale, running in only his second marathon, had set his eyes on a massive improvement. “My target was a 2:07. I went out front because I needed to push the pace, the halfway mark was too slow, “ said the 26-year-old, who bravely struggled to be the 50th finisher in 2:38:22.

Ngakane dropped out after 25 km. Ngamole finished as first South African in 46th with 2:30:01.

South Africa finished 17th at the championships after Caster Semenya grabbed the nation’s fourth medal, losing out to Russian Mariya Savinova for the silver in the 800 m final.

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