By Mark Etheridge
She may have failed in her bid to break the South African record and also qualify for this year’s Olympics in Rio but race walker Anel Oosthuizen at least had reason to smile at the weekend’s IAAF Race Walking Challenge in Audience, Slovakia.
Reason being that she walked her way to a personal best of 1hr 37min 49sec for the 20km walk.
That placed her 24th out of 58 starters and she can now build-up to her next event, also in Europe, on 9 April.
She told Road to Rio 2016: ‘I think it would be ungrateful of me to say that I’m not happy with the result because I still got a personal best out of it.
‘At this stage it’s an indication, that in a race where things didn’t go perfectly and I struggled a bit in the last 10km, to get a personal best, means I’m in shape to walk a sub 1:36.
‘I’m positive for the next race now, three weeks of good training and the necessary sharpening up and then lets see what happens on 9 April. Obviously I wanted to qualify but I think things obviously happen for a reason and I’m just staying positive.’
In the same race there was also a personal best for fellow South African Zelda Schultz who walked a 1:42:41 in 32nd spot. Corli Swart took 30th in 1:42.30.
In the men’s 20km walk, Mthemi Chauque took 23rd spot in a personal best 1:29:52 as fellow SA walker Wayne Snyman failed to start due to sickness.
In the men’s 50km walk, London Olympian Marc Mundell ended 20th in 3:56:12.
‘It was a tough 50km day out in Dudince for me. I tried something different in my final 50km before Rio and it didn’t quite work. Still many positives from the day and wonderful having my wife, parents and coach at the race.
‘ I still secured my 4th IAAF 50km qualification time since 1 January 2015. A big thank you to everyone who has supported me to get here and qualify for 2016.
‘Noteworthy in the 50km race was that there were four disqualifications and 22 did not finish out of 71 starters.’