By Mark Etheridge
Two South African athletes were in first-day action at the 2011 IAAF World Athletics championships in Daegu, South Korea.
Rene Kalmer and Annerien van Schalkwyk lined up for the women’s marathon and had to watch as their fellow Africans made it a clean sweep of the medals.
The fastest woman in the field, Edna Kiplagat took the honours in 2hr 28min 43sec after having lined up with a 2hr 20min 46sec time in London earlier this year. She was followed by compatriots Priscah Jeptoo and Sharon Cherop in 2:29:00 and 2:29:14 respectively.
Kalmer and Van Schalkwyk ended in 31st and 37th place. Kalmer, a veteran of the world athletics circuit hung in for much of the race and was still part of the lead pack at 20km. Van Schalkwyk was 2:15 off the pace at this stage.
Kalmer went on to record a time of 2:38:16 while Van Schalkwyk at least had the satisfaction of running a season’s best time (2:43:59).
And both South Africans will be pleased to have ended ahead of former South African Colleen de Reuck, who has been living in the United States for some time now.
Also in action on Sunday was SA 100m champion SImon Magakwe who failed to progress through the first round of heats. Defending world champion Usain Bolt was quickest in qualifying with a 10.10 but Magakwe who made the final of World Student Games in China earlier this month, wouldn’t have been happy with the 10.53 he ran… in the same heat as Bolt.