Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
VAN ZYL QUALIFIES FOR RIO OLYMPICS
Irvette van Zyl booked her place in the SA 42km team for the Rio Olympics on Sunday, taking 15th position in 2:32:20 at the London Marathon in England.
Van Zyl had targeted a sub-2:30 performance and was on track for most of the race, reaching the halfway mark in 1:14:22.
After missing one of her bottles at a refreshment table, she started cramping and slowed in the latter stages.
She did enough, however, to climb to the top of the list of qualifiers for the Rio Games in August, crossing the line less than a minute outside her personal best.
“I am a bit disappointed but happy to get the qualifier,” Van Zyl said.
“I was fine until I missed my bottle at 25km and I started cramping at 28km. I had to push through the cramps to the end, so my pace got slower.
“It was a bad day and didn’t go according to plan, but that’s a marathon for you.”
While Athletics SA and Sascoc have the right to select any of the eight women’s marathon qualifiers for the Rio Games, they are likely to pick the three fastest athletes during the qualifying window, which ends on April 30.
If they take this approach, Van Zyl will be joined in Rio by Christine Kalmer (2:33:43) and Lebo Phalula (2:33:48), as no elite SA athletes have 42km races scheduled next week.
Kalmer’s older sister, Rene, had also aimed for the Olympic qualifier in London after shaking off a persistent hip injury which affected her build-up.
Though she dipped under the required standard of 2:45:00, finishing 19th in 2:39:44, Kalmer was well outside the top three qualifiers, making it unlikely for her to be selected for her third Olympics.
Veteran Ernst van Dyk ended fourth in the men’s wheelchair race in the English capital in 1:35:23, four seconds behind Swiss winner Marcel Hug, just six days after taking second place at the Boston Marathon.