Ramaala blasts SA companies

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Top South African runner, Hendrick Ramaala, has blasted South African companies for turning a blind eye on local athletes, who are doing well.

"It is a shame that South African companies are paying a lot of money to foreigners, especially those who run ultra marathons," said Ramaala.

"I know that I won't be famous with many people after this interview, but we are well aware that foreigners who take part in the Comrades get super contracts. They get about R20 000 monthly retainers, but locals are given a paltry R2 000. In addition, they put them under pressure to perform at all times.

" This practice has to stop, it is tantamount to cheap labour. We need to start recognising our athletes, especially those who are doing well.

"There are many successful black athletes who do not have sponsors. I still can't believe that a person who won a silver medal at the Olympics such as Mbulaeni Mulaudzi does not have a single sponsor.

"There are others like Khotso Mokoena, Poppy Mlambo and many others. I get a king's treatment when I compete abroad, but locally the situation is different. There are many black athletes who are suffering now because of the bad contracts offered to them by their clubs," added Ramaala.

Two months ago, top athletics administrator Thulani Sibisi said he was surprised that top black South African athletes were ignored by the corporate world.

Meanwhile, Ramaala has joined a class of big names sponsored by German sportswear company Adidas International. The Johannesburg-based law graduate has dumped Nike, the company that has been sponsoring him since 1996. Other big names with the company include Ethiopian Haile Gebreselassie, Kenyan Felix Limo and Moroccan Gharib Mohammed.