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London and Olympics marathons paramount in athletics great's ambitions for the year

By unknown | Jan 04, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Hendrick Ramaala, prominent South African athletics great, will start his 2008 road running campaign at the Nedbank 21km Series in Pretoria on January 19.

"It will be part of my preparations for the London Marathon in April," said Ramaala, the South African 10 000m record-holder.

The London Marathon and the Beijing Olympics are the only two major events that 35-year-old Ramaala will compete in this year.

"I have been training hard during the festive season holidays, doing long runs as part of my preparations for the London Marathon," said Ramaala.

"There are about 17 guys that I have been training with here at Zoo Lake, the only day we rested was on Christmas Day.

"My training partners, mostly youngsters, have big plans for 2008. I will be using the Nedbank 21km Series to assess my speed.

"The London and Olympics marathons are the only two major competitions that have been eluding me, that is why I decided to start early with the preparations."

Ramaala, who has also secured a personal sponsorship from Nedbank after Sowetan ran an article where he complained about lack of support by the local corporate world, finished third during the London Marathon last year.

"I had a meeting with Athletics South Africa and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee to discuss everything relating to Beijing," he said.

"The plans for the Beijing Olympics are on course. One is also happy with the support we are getting for our preparations. The ball is now in my court, I have to deliver. People will always remember you if you win an Olympics medal. It is one of my main targets for this year."

Ramaala has competed in two consecutive Olympics in Australia (2000) and Athens (2004) but failed to finish within the top five bracket.


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