Two of South Africa’s best distance runners say they have made themselves unavailable for selection to compete at next month’s IAAF World Championships as they are not confident of representing the country to the best of their abilities.
Middle-distance star Juan van Deventer and long-distance runner Rene Kalmer have both managed to overcome injuries which derailed their seasons, but would rather not represent the country at the highest level of competition until they are fully fit.
“I tore my calf muscle at the Boston Marathon in April and was out for a month, so the preparation period was too short,” Kalmer said yesterday at the announcement of a new sponsorship deal between Garmin and the Nedbank Running Club.
“I’m always honoured to represent South Africa, and I would have loved to run in Moscow, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to prepare.”
Kalmer, who had qualified to compete in the women’s marathon at the global spectacle, would take part in local road races over the next few months, and was hoping to improve on her personal best of 2:29:59 at a major city marathon later during this season.
“It’s been a tough year, but I’m healthy and injury free, and if it stays that way I’m confident I can run under 2:30 again,” she said.
“I’m enjoying my running at the moment and I’m motivated to set a new personal best.”
Van Deventer, who is Kalmer’s team-mate at the Nedbank club, said he had recovered from a knee injury but did not feel he was ready to take on the world’s best in Moscow.
Van Deventer clocked 3:36.84 in Dessau, Germany, at the end of May, achieving the B-qualifying standard in the men’s 1 500m, but was more than two seconds outside his personal best. – Sapa.