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Rene’s hectic qualifying dash

By Mark Etheridge

Seemingly against all the odds Rene Kalmer has added her name to the selection pot for this year’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

Kalmer was a last-minute entrant in the women’s 1,500m at the season’s inaugural Diamond League meeting in Doha, Qatar on Friday and ended up running a fine 4min 07.80sec. That was good for ninth spot in the race behind Kenyan Nancy Langat (4:01.63), but more importantly, quicker than the 4:08.42 qualifying standard set down by Athletics South Africa.

Kalmer, 29, who has a personal best of 4:06.71 from two years ago, was chilling out in front of television when her week was fast-tracked.

“I was only informed late Tuesday evening that I could run in Doha on Friday,” Kalmer told Road to London, 2012. “I was recovering after a hard training session (5x1600m), not the ideal session before a 1500m race. My coach (Gerrie Coetzee) wasn’t really confident that I should go and run as we haven’t done any speed training to sharpen up for a 1500m race.

“But I just had to follow my gut feeling as I really wanted to run in Doha.”

Kalmer then had a race against time to get her ducks in a row. “It was hectic. I got kicked off my connnecting flight from Dubai to Doha as my visa wasn’t ready yet so I had to wait for nine hours at the airport for my visa!”

There followed a rush to the track where the drama continued. “Just before we went onto the track for our race, we got our electronic numbers but there wasn’t a number for me, just the electronic device so after a lot of stressful moments I finally got a hand-written number. As I stood on the start line I just thought: ‘let’s get this race over and done with.’

“I actually can’t remember anything of the race and I still can’t believe that I have qualified for the Commonwealth Games. Now the stress of chasing qualifying times are over and I can enjoy the rest of my races. Now I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season and running really fast.”

Should she get her Schengen Visa in time, Kalmer plans on running a 5000m in Hengelo, Netherlands at the end of the month and then a 1,500m in Rabat early next month.