Athletics

Van Blerk clinches Games spot

2012-04-22 13:24
Irvette van Blerk (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - South Africa will have full-strength men's and women's marathon teams at the 2012 London Olympic Games after Irvette van Blerk snatched the last place available in the English capital on Sunday.

Van Blerk completed her first race over the classic distance, finishing 18th in the London Marathon in 2:33.41 to dip more than three minutes under the Olympic standard time of 2:37.00.

The 24-year-old will join Rene Kalmer, who clocked 2:29.59 in Yokohama in October, and Tanith Maxwell, who ran 2:36.47 in Rotterdam last week, in the SA women's team at the quadrennial showpiece.

Five South African men have qualified in the marathon, but Athletics South Africa has said the fastest three will go.

That would hand Stephen Mokoka, Coolboy Ngamole and Lusapho April the three available spots.

With the qualifying deadline set for April 30, veteran Hendrick Ramaala and Othaniel Phahlane, who have also gone under the 2:15.00 qualifying mark, are likely to miss out.

Veteran Ernst van Dyk, a nine-time winner of the Boston Marathon, was 10th in the men's wheelchair race on Sunday in 1:36.01.

Kenyans Wilson Kipsang (2:04.44) and Mary Keitany (2:18.37) successfully defended their men's and women's London Marathon titles.

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