Ramaala says sorry to SA for his poor race

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

OSAKA - Hendrick Ramaala has apologised to Athletics South Africa (ASA) and his fans for failing to win a medal in the marathon event at the IAAF World Athletics Championships on Saturday.

The much-admired Ramaala, who finished in a disappointing 27th position, said he failed to win in spite of having made good preparations for the event.

He blamed the searing heat for his poor display.

Ramaala was among favourites to win a medal on Saturday.

The event was won by Kenyan Luke Kibet, a 24-year-old prison warder.

Mubarak Hassan Shami of Qatar and Victor Rothlin of Switzerland came second and third respectively.

Ramaala's compatriots George Mofokeng, Norman Dlomo, Bethuel Netshifhefhe and Zongamele Dyubeni, were equally worthless on the day.

Mofokeng was the only one of the four who managed to finish the race, coming further down in 53rd spot.

The quartet were making their debuts in the marathon event of the 11th world showpiece that attracted a massive 203 runners.

Said a visibly disappointed Ramaala: "I don't blame ASA because they did everything possible to prepare us for the marathon. Obviously, like all other competitors here, I was hoping for a medal. I'm disappointed for failing to use an opportunity to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"But I'm going back to the drawing board and I will continue to work hard to ensure that I do well in other events that will help me to go to Beijing."

Mofokeng said though the heat had taken its toll on him, sheer commitment had pulled him through to the tape. Dlomo also said he had let his country down.

Mcelwa Nchabeleng is in Japan as a guest of Athletics South Africa.