Thugwane, Ramaala spur on SA team
Josia Thugwane is hoping a South African can win a second gold in the men's marathon at the London Olympics on Sunday
WHEN Josia Thugwane went to compete at the Atlanta Olympics in the marathon competition in 1996, many people did not give him a chance of finishing in the top 10.
It is now history that Thugwane, then a mine worker in Mpumalanga, was the first black South African runner to win gold at the Olympics.
Thugwane is hoping a South African can win a second gold in the men's marathon at the London Olympics on Sunday.
The South African marathon team is made up of multiple national champion Stephen Mokoka, Coolboy Ngamole and Lusapho April.
"We have a pretty solid team, the most important thing is for the three men to focus on the race and not be intimidated by the so-called big names competing," said Thugwane.
"When I went to Atlanta, people were telling us to forget about winning because the big names were going to win. I decided to close my ears and ignore them. I decided to run my own race. We also worked as a team with Gert Thys and Lawrence Peu (who came in as a replacement for the injured Xolile Yawa).
"Our guys must believe in themselves, winning the marathon is not impossible," said Thugwane.
Another athletics legend, Hendrick Ramaala, who has competed in four Olympic Games, is equally confident a South African can win the marathon.
"My money for gold is on Mokoka, but I wish for the best when it comes to Ngamole and April.
"It will be tough, considering we have Kenyans with qualifying times of two hours and four minutes."