Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
MIXED BAG FOR SA DISTANCE RUNNERS
There was joy for some, but disappointment for others, as South African distance runners experienced mixed fortunes around the world this weekend.
Track specialist Dominique Scott narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Rio Olympics on Friday night, winning the women’s 5 000m race at the Stanford Invitational in California.
Scott clocked 15:25.10, a little more than a second outside the qualifying standard of 15:24.00 for the Games.
It was nonetheless a fine effort by the 23-year-old University of Arkansas student, who set a personal best and recorded the fastest 5 000m time by a South African woman in more than 15 years.
Meanwhile, back home, a group of elite men delivered solid performances at the Motherwell Freedom Run 10km race in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
National champion Elroy Gelant won the men’s event in 28:50, five seconds ahead of local athlete Melikhaya Frans.
Lusapho April, who will turn out at the Hannover Marathon next week, held off Gladwin Mzazi by four seconds to take third place in 29:09, with six men dipping under 30 minutes.
Former SA marathon champion Zintle Xiniwe won the women’s contest in 34:42, securing a comfortable victory.
Ntombesintu Mfunzi was second in 35:28.
Elsewhere, in South Korea on Sunday morning, Mapaseka Makhanya dropped out in the second half of the Daegu Marathon after struggling in cold conditions.
Makhanya remained third fastest, behind Christine Kalmer and Jenna Challenor, among the SA women who had already qualified for the Olympics, after taking fourth place at the Shanghai Marathon in November in 2:37:21.
However, with Irvette van Zyl, Rene Kalmer and Lebo Phalula all gearing up for international 42km races before the April 30 qualifying deadline, a wide open race was still on the cards for the three available spots in the Rio team.
Later on Sunday, Desmond Mokgobu dipped under the Olympic qualifying standard of 2:19:00 by taking seventh position at the Santiago Marathon in Chile in 2:17:43.
This placed him seventh, however, in the list of SA men who had achieved the required time for the Games, and his chances of being selected for the team were slim at best with the likes of Lusapho April and veteran Hendrick Ramaala still due to compete during the window period.
Mokgobu, who had finished third in Santiago last year, was more than seven minutes behind Kenyan Victor Kipchirchir who won the race in 2:11:01.