Ramaala another miserable flop

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

BEIJING - Hendrick Ramaala, pictured, added misery to South Africans when he failed to put a smile on their faces after failing to win a medal in the marathon on the last day of the Olympic Games yesterday.

Ramaala was the country's last hope to win a medal in athletics after Mbulaeni Mulaudzi fell by the wayside in the semifinals of the 800m on Thursday night.

Ramaala was nowhere near the gold medallist Samuel Wansiru of Kenya and Jaouad Gharib of Morocco and Ethiopian Tsegay Kebede, who came second and third, respectively.

Wansiru won in a time of 2:06:32. Gharib came home in 2:07:16 and Kebede in 2:10:00.

Ramaala finished on 44th position in 2:22:43, while his compatriot Norman Dlomo was 53rd in 2:24:28.

Ramaala and Dlomo should have been disappointed with the hot temperatures that greeted the athletes yesterday morning.

They were hoping for cool temperatures that they experienced when they arrived in Beijing last week.

"It is very hot here today but I was surprised by the pace of the runners under such conditions," a conspicuously exhausted Ramaala said after the race.

"I tried to catch up with the leading bunch but I just could not cope with the sweltering heat that eventually slowed me down."

Meanwhile, Ethiopian icon Kenenisa Bekela set a new Olympic record in the men's 5000m as he scooped gold on Saturday.

Bekele, who won silver in the same event at the 2004 Games in Athens, prevailed in a time of 12:82:00 on Saturday.

The 26-year-old became the second Ethiopian after Miruts Yifter to win the double at the Olympics.

Yifter achieved this at the Moscow Games in 1980.

Bekele's compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba also won the  unprecedented double when she won the 5000m on Friday night.