Van Schalkwyk, Mlambo ready for champs

TOP LOCAL athletes Annerien van Schalkwyk and Poppy Mlambo are keen to make an impression at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham, England, on October 11.

TOP LOCAL athletes Annerien van Schalkwyk and Poppy Mlambo are keen to make an impression at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham, England, on October 11.

Speaking to Sowetan from their training camp in Potchefstroom yesterday, the two athletes said were not going to Birmingham to add to the numbers but to compete for medals.

Van Schalkwyk secured her passage to England after winning the recent Nedbank South African Half Marathon Championships in Port Elizabeth, while Mlambo came fourth.

An excited Van Schalkwyk said: "It is an honour for me to be in the squad to represent my country at the world championships. I know it is going to be tough but I'm ready to overcome the challenges. We are currently working hard here at training and I think everybody will be ready for the event."

The 30-year-old should know better about what will be required for her to shine at this event, after she disappointed at last year's championships in Brazil.

Mlambo said: "We are ready and raring to go and we want to make a mark in England. The standard of athletics here in South Africa has improved tremendously and we are grateful to Athletics SA for bringing in a Kenyan coach (Danson Muchoki) to assist us."

The SA team is:

Men - Stephen Mokoka, Jeffrey Gwebu, Lindikhaya Mthangayi, Mbongeni Ngxazozo, Xolisa Tyali, Olebogeng Masire, Zolani Ntongana and Samuel Segoaba

Women - Van Schalkwyk, Mlambo and Rene Kalmer.

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