SA’s Kalmer hopes for an Olympic pass

2011-05-07 00:00

RENE Kalmer will hit the international marathon circuit tomorrow in the Volkswagen Prague Marathon in the hope of making the top 10 or beating a time of 2:36, which will provide an automatic entry for the London Olympics.

Given Kalmer’s improvement on the short distances in the past months and her 2009 Soweto debut, there is every reason to believe she can join Tanith Maxwell and Anneriene van Schalkwyk as the core of a potential women’s team for the Olympics.

Elana Meyer was the last South African woman to enter the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996.

“This is the first marathon I have trained for and I am in good shape. So I am hoping for a top five,” said Kalmer, who is under no illusions that competition will be tough.

“There is Lydia Cheromei of Kenya, who is the record holder of the Prague Half-marathon, and is hoping to break the record in the Volkswagen Marathon as well.

“Then there is Olga Glok (RUS), who won in 2009 when she ran her personal best of 2:28:27, and Yeshimebet Tadesse of Ethiopia who ran 2:27:45 in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. So it will be tough, but it is exactly what I need.”

With a 10 km personal best of 32:39, Kalmer is capable of reaching the 2:30 barrier, but would probably be better securing an Olympic place with a safe 2:34 than going for broke.

L.J. van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks were the first of South Africa’s track-and-field stars to commence the international campaign when they raced in the 400 m hurdles last night in the IAAF Samsung Golden League in Doha.

Van Zyl broke Llewellyn Herbert’s 11-year-old record in February, won the SA championship title in Durban and set an impressive 400 m flat time of 44,76 seconds in Germiston in March.

The favourite tonight is America’s Bershawn Jackson, the 2005 World Champion and 2008 Olympic and 2009 World bronze medallist.

Fredericks has also improved his personal best this season and finished second to Van Zyl in the SA championships. The meeting will be televised on SuperSport 6 at 6 pm.

Up the north coast, Canon Richards Bay club have the RBM 35 km tomorrow starting from Bay Hall at 7 am. The race has been extended by three kilometres to mark the Richard Bay Minerals 35th year.

The extension makes this an ideal distance for those running Comrades in three weeks’ time. Contact Virna McMaster for more details at 082 447 3040.

Starling Plumber Woodview club hosts the KZN 21 km championships tomorrow. This route skirts the Mount Edgecombe Golf estate before taking an out and back leg on the old road towards Verulam.

Although not a course for personal best times, it is capable of giving the 67-minute and 83-minute results required for KZN representation. The results are also considered in the selection of the team to compete in the SA half-marathon championships in Motherwell in July.

The event also offers a 10 km distance over the first lap around the Golf Estate and both distances commence at 6 am. Contact Ritesh Ramraj for more details at 083 500 2265.

The KwaZulu-Natal team for the SA 10 km championships was announced this week, ahead of the race that will be held in Germiston on May 22.

10 KM KZN TEAM

SENIOR MEN: Siyabonga Nkonde, Thobani Chagwe, Bonginkosi Zwane, ThubalethuPhaku

SENIOR LADIES: Jenna Challenor, Daniella Adlam, Carry Ann Smith, Makhosi Mhlongo, Tanith Maxwell, Putseletso Dladla

WOMEN 40-49: Maya Lawrie, Grace de Oliveira

MEN 50-59: Ackim Mhlanzi, Andy Daly, Eloi der Oliveira

MEN 60+: Petros Shumi

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