Now the real work starts, says Kalmer

2012-05-23 00:00

IT was a good weekend for South Africa runners, with René Kalmer making headlines when she set a new course record for the Gifu half-marathon in Japan, beating some top class competition in the process.

Kalmer outraced double Olympic marathon silver medal holder Catherine Ndereba by two seconds to clock one hour 13 minutes and two seconds, which will give her a huge confidence boost for the London Olympic Marathon less than 70 days away.

While Eri Okubo and Kaori Sakurai were third and fourth, beating the experienced Lidia Simon by over 80 seconds was another worthwhile scalp to take.

“The jet-setting is over and now the real work starts,” said Kalmer ahead of her Olympic preparations.

Kalmer, with Irvette van Blerk and Tanith Maxwell, are the three women who have qualified for the Olympic Games, although their places have yet to be publically confirmed by the national Olympic committee, Sascoc.

Maxwell confirmed that the trio were expected to compete in the Durban Spar 10 km women’s race that was launched in Durban yesterday and will take place on June 24 from the new venue at Kingsmead.

This year will see a faster route using the M4 freeway and will have a limit of 17 000 runners between the five kilometre and 10 km distances.

André Olivier posted a useful 1:46.74 for third place in the 800 m in the weekend’s Samsung Diamond league in China, finishing behind Leonard Kosencha, who ran 1:46.04 in the atrocious rainy conditions.

LJ van Zyl ran a disappointing 50,38 for fifth in the 400 m hurdles. Rob Oosthuizen continued his comeback and attempt to qualify for the Olympics in the javelin with a 75,48 m throw, which was only good enough for seventh position.

Nationally the 10 km road title went to Elroy Gelant, who improved from sixth place in 2011 to take the crown in 28 minutes 36 seconds in Kimberley, with defending champion Lucky Mohale second. Stephen Mokoka, a multiple SA champion at the shorter distances, finished fifth in 28,55 boding well for his Olympic marathon form.

Irvette van Blerk claimed victory in the women’s race — ahead of team-mate Lebo Phalula — in 33.21.

It was a particularly good day for the KZN athletes, with Adam Lipshitz earning the silver medal behind Sithembile Dondolo, who crossed the line in 31 minutes five seconds to Lipshitz’s new personal best of 31,17.

Janene Carey secured a gold medal in the women’s 40-plus category in 38 minutes 24 seconds, while Gill Tregenna repeated the feat in the 70-plus category in an impressive 56 minutes 38 seconds.

The Nedbank Comrades dream team has suffered another blow with the withdrawal of American Kami Semmick and UK’s Lizzy Hawker from the Comrades Marathon on June 3. Both women made the top 10 on their debut up run in 2011.

On Friday KZN Athletics hosts the IAAF World Athletics Day meeting starting at 5 pm at King’s Park track. For more information call Mzo Gumede of KZN Athletics at 031 312 9374.

Hilton Harriers host cross-country league 4 at Laddsworth Primary School, Hilton, on Saturday afternoon. For more information athletes/clubs can contact Jeff Speed at 082 892 4215.

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