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Kalmer qualifies in Prague

Van der Westhuizen rules in Jamaica and Kalmer qualifies in Prague

Prague Marathon

Prague Marathon

The international athletics season could not have started on a better note for South African athletes after the superb performances by LJ Van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks in the 400m hurdles and Robert Oosthuizen in the Javelin in Doha where they finished 1st, 2nd and 2nd respectively.

Pieter van der Westhuizen continued the winning trend when he won the men’s 1500m race in Kingston, Jamaica in the Jamaica International Invitational Meet on Saturday 7 May 2010. The meet is part of the IAAF World Challenge Series – the competition tier just below the Diamond Leagues. Van der Westhuizen just out-dipped America’s Dereck Scott and Rob Myers in a blanket finish (3.45;19 – 3.45;24 – 3.45;32).

Kalmer qualifies for Worlds

The good performances of the weekend continued as Rene Kalmer ran a personal best and a World Championship Marathon qualifier when she finished 5th in her “debut” marathon at the Volkswagen Prague International Marathon on Sunday 8 May.

Kalmer was with the leaders until 25km, when her leg started to pain after taking a tumble during training this past Tuesday. In hot conditions, halfway was passed in 73.18 and Kalmer thought she was on course for a sub 2.30 “debut” marathon. Although she had raced the Soweto Marathon in 2009 and won in 2:44, Kalmer never trained for that race and used it as a training run. “For me Prague is my first real marathon, as I have trained hard for it and I raced it.”

Kalmer literally hit the tarmac on Tuesday during training at Ruimsig stadium when a training partner cut in-front of her and she tumbled to the ground. She thought the physio and rest till Sunday’s Marathon had sorted out the niggle; but clearly it did not as she started to feel pain from 25km, slowed down and lost contact with the leaders. Kalmer finished in 5th overall in 2.34;47. “I have mixed emotions,” Kalmer said from Prague. “I did not know if I should finish or not, the pain was so intense and I was hoping for a sub 2.30.” Having qualified for the World Championships took some of the disappointment away. It also means she has qualified for the London Olympics (top ten in an IAAF Gold Label Race is an automatic Olympic Qualifier) providing that SASCOC selects her.

That brings to three the amount of ladies who have qualified for the World Championships in the marathon. Tanith Maxwell ran 2.32;33 in Berlin in September 2010 to become the first women’s Marathon qualifier. Annerien van Skalkwyk clocked 2.35;32 in Singapore in December 2010; and now Rene Kalmer has added her name to the list. A formidable team for the Marathon World Cup that is run in conjunction with the World Championships.

The other South African to compete this weekend was Simon Magakwe who finished 7th in in 10.65sec the 100m in Osaka at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Kawasaki on Sunday 8 May.

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