15th May, 2012
South African race walker Marc Mundell says he had to dig deep in challenging conditions to qualify for the London Olympic Games in the 50km event at the World Race Walking Cup in Saransk, Russia.
“I battled with the heat throughout the race, pouring water all over my body,” Mundell said. It constantly evaporated each lap and dehydration and over-heating was a concern.”
Mundell improved his previous SA record of 4:04:54, crossing the line in 3:57:57 and finishing 26th overall.
The 28-year-old fulfilled the criteria set out for walkers by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and Athletics SA (ASA) by qualifying at an international meeting.
“I only had one chance for the 50km this year and I had to utilise it, no matter the conditions,” Mundell said.
After incurring muscle cramps from the 33km mark, his pace slowed and he had to pick up speed in order to finish in the goal time he set for himself, averaging five minutes per kilometre.
“I had to dig really deep for the final kilometres, trusting in my support team, training and my mental willingness to embrace the pain and to take my body to a new level of discomfort, while many athletes were suffering around me,” he said.
In the 20km walk, Lebogang Shange had the best performance among the SA team, finishing 77th in a time of 1:30.05.
Thami Hlatshawayo clocked 1:30:58 while Wayne Snyman finished in 1:32:16.
Pierre de Villiers came through in 1:34:03 while Armond Nel competed at his first international meeting, clocking 1:35:14.