Mundell qualifies for Olympics
Cape Town - Marc Mundell not only qualified for the Olympic Games in the 50km at the World Race Walking Cup in Saransk, Russia on Sunday, but also improved his own South African record, crossing the line in 3:57:57.GALLERY: Past weekend in pictures
Mundell improved his previous record of 4:04:54 (Zittau, Germany 25 April 2009) and fulfilled SASCOC and Athletics South Africa’s qualifying criteria for race walkers having to qualify only once at an international meeting.
“I only had one chance for the 50km this year and I had to utilise it, no matter the conditions,” said the 28-year-old about the hot weather conditions. “I battled with the heat throughout the race, pouring water all over my body. It constantly evaporated each lap and dehydration and over-heating was a concern.”
After incurring muscle cramps from the 33km mark his pace slowed and he had to pick up the pace in order to finish in the goal time he set for himself, averaging 5 minutes per kilometre. Consistency helped Mundell through the last 10km allowing him to finish 26th overall. “I had to dig really deep for the final kilometres, trusting in my support team, training and my mental willingness to embrace the pain and to take my body to a new level of discomfort, whilst many athletes were suffering around me.”
Mundell was not included in the 2009 World Championships team in Germany after recording his previous B-standard time on debut in 2009 in Zittau, Germany. This will be Mundell’s first Olympic Games.
In the 20km walk Lebogang Shange had the best performance amongst the team finishing in 1:30.05 (77th). Thami Hlatshawayo clocked 1:30:58 while Wayne Snyman finished in 1:32:16. Pierre de Villiers came through in 1:34:03 while Armond Nel competed at his first international meeting clocking 1:35:14.
The team will arrive at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday, 15 May landing at 08:45 from Frankfurt.