BEIJING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Those who made it by grace
Thanks to the new qualification system of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which was introduced prior to the Beijing World Championships, three South African middistance runners have been invited to the global track and field contest.
The trio – 3 000m steeplechasers Dikotsi Lekopa (27) and Tumisang Monnatlala (20), as well as 1 500m specialist Dumisane Hlaselo (26) – made the cut by virtue of being the next-best-ranked athletes during the qualification period October 2014 to August 10 2015.
According to the IAAF’s qualification system, member federations can compete with up to three athletes in each individual event on condition that they are all qualified.
Then there is the invitation by ranking process – as in the cases of Lekopa, Monnatlala and Hlaselo.
South African champion Lekopa, of Athletics Central North West, boasts a season best time of 8:32.17 that won him the national title at the Senior Track and Field Championships in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, in April.
Monnatlala of Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) was Lekopa’s runner-up in 8:33.02 at the same championships, while Hlaselo, also of CGA, ran a season best 3:36.36 in the 1 500m. The IAAF covers their championship costs. South Africa will compete in 18 of the 23 individual events at the global event, which ends on August 30.