Ramaala enters London in style

Richard Nkosi and Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Richard Nkosi and Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Top South African runner Hendrick Ramaala completed his preparations for the London Marathon in grand style by winning the Nedbank Matha Series on Saturday.

Ramaala, now running in the colours of Nedbank Athletics Club, clocked 63 minutes and 12 seconds to clinch this event which took place in Middleburg, Mpumalanga.

Now the former New York Marathon winner will be doing light training here at home to maintain his fitness ahead of the big one in England on April 26.

Norman Dlomo finished second in 63:32 and Zimbabwean Wirimai Juwayo settled for third spot in a time of 63:45.

Ramaala and Dlomo were involved in a neck and neck race until the 18km mark when the national 5000m record holder sped off until he crossed the finish line first.

"It was a tough race with a number of quality runners, Dlomo gave me a strong challenge," said Ramaala, who pocketed R20000 for the win.

"I'm happy that my preparations for the London Marathon ended very well, the win here today gave me hope going to London. Everything has been going well in terms of the preparations for London, but my worry is that all the big guns in the world have been keeping a low profile."

Top runners to watch out for are defending champion Martin Lel of Kenya and Moroccan Jaouad Gharib from Morroco. Lel is chasing his fourth London Marathon.

Back to Saturday's event in Middleburg, Zimbabwean Sharon Tavenga walked away with the crown after winning the category in 75:54.

Lesotho's Mamorallo Tjoka was second in 76:02.

Leonard Chuene, Athletics South Africa president, praised the people of Mpumalanga for contributing to the success of the half marathon.

"What makes me even more happy was that we were able to put together a great race which attracted some of the best runners."