no end to flops

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

South Africa was once again taken for granted by Athletics South Africa with assurances that their athletes were ready for the world championships in Brazil, only to disappoint the nation.

The athletes competed at the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Rio de Janeiro, on Sunday.

SA was represented by Tshamano Setone, Jeffrey Gwebu, Boy Soke, Stephen Mokoka, Lindikhaya Mthangayi, Ntombesintu Mfunzi and Annerien van Schalkwyk.

Setone ended far from glory after securing 22nd position in a time of 1hr:05min:20secs.

The men's title was won by Eritrean Zersenay Tadese in 59:56.

Gwebu came 39th in 1:07:08, while Soke finished 52nd in 1:08:41. Mokoka was further down in 67th with a time of 1:11:45 and Mthangayi and Mfunzi failed to finish.

Van Schalkwyk started strongly but fell at the 17km mark and had to be attended to by paramedics.

ASA's tendency to raise the nation's hopes for international events, just like other sports federations always do, has resulted in sports lovers in the country losing confidence in them. They are justified to take whatever ASA says with a pinch of salt.

There was nothing new in what Molatelo "Professor" Malehopo, ASA's acting general manager, said last week about their readiness for Brazil.

"ASA is looking forward to the team doing well in Brazil because the athletes are well prepared for the race," he opined.

Malehopo did not have answers to their disappointing run in Brazil when Sowetan contacted him for comment on Monday.

"I was not there and I will advise you to speak to the president [Leonard Chuene] who was with the team in Brazil," he said.

Attempts to contact Chuene drew a blank yesterday.

But the nation is likely to be subjected to rhetoric from ASA's boss, such as "our athletes learned a lot in Brazil and they will be ready for the next international competitions".

Officials of the federations are always quick to assure the nation that "our athletes are ready to hoist the country's flag high" in this or that event. But they always come up with cheap excuses when their athletes fail.

The ASA team is expected back from Brazil this morning.