Van Zyl hopes Spar vic­to­ries are a fil­lip for Olympics

CityPress - - Sport - BU­SISIWE MOK­WENA sports@city­press.co.za

Af­ter her sec­ond win, in the sec­ond leg of the Spar Women’s 10km Chal­lenge five-leg se­ries this year, Irvette van Zyl is now wait­ing with bated breath to hear if she will be part of the South African marathon Olympic team go­ing to Rio in Au­gust. The an­nounce­ment will be made this month. Van Zyl beat the Phalula twins, Le­bo­gang and Lebo, to the fin­ish line at yes­ter­day’s chal­lenge in Port El­iz­a­beth, cut­ting the tape in 33.28 min­utes. Le­bo­gang came sec­ond in 34.09 min­utes, while her sis­ter fin­ished a sec­ond later. Van Zyl, who also won the Cape Town leg of the com­pe­ti­tion last month, said she did not ex­pect to win the race – es­pe­cially com­ing from the Lon­don Marathon, where she clinched the Olympic qual­i­fy­ing time, along­side Lebo and René Kalmer, last month. “I did not think I was go­ing to win to­day; it was just about shak­ing out what I got from the marathon. I wanted to be in the top three, and luck­ily, every­thing played to my ad­van­tage,” said Van Zyl. “I will fo­cus on the shorter races un­til Rio – they are eas­ier to work into a pro­gramme than longer ones. I can­not say I am def­i­nitely in the team ... We will wait and see what their [the SA Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion and Olympic Com­mit­tee’s] fi­nal de­ci­sion will be.” With three Spar races left in the year, Le­bo­gang is hop­ing to catch up to Van Zyl on the Spar Grand Prix leader board and win the ti­tle for the sec­ond time in a row. “I thought I would just fin­ish in the top 10 be­cause I strug­gled with flu and a knee in­jury this week. I guess it helped me rest a bit as I only started jog­ging on Fri­day. I told my­self I need to catch up on points be­cause I want to win the Grand Prix again. “I need to be strong and fo­cus to do so. No one has run a bonus points time yet and I am happy about that. I am only two points be­hind Irvette; I will catch up,” she said. Le­bo­gang is still hop­ing to qual­ify for Rio in the 5 000m event. She will be head­ing to Bel­gium af­ter the Dur­ban leg of the Spar race next month.

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