truant runners dropped

ATHLETICS South Africa has taken the drastic step of dropping truant athletes from the national team to the highly anticipated IAAF World Championships in Germany next month.

ATHLETICS South Africa has taken the drastic step of dropping truant athletes from the national team to the highly anticipated IAAF World Championships in Germany next month.

The athletes are marathoners Enos Matalane and Lusapho April, who have been dropped after failing to attend the training camp at Potchefstroom High Performance Institute (in Matalane's case) or attending only part of it (April).

The camp started on June 1 and ends a few days before the marathon squad leaves for Germany on August 18. The championships in Berlin are from August 15 to 23.

ASA will now be represented by Coolboy Ngamola, Norman Dlomo and Johannes Kekana in Berlin after the national body refused to replace April and Matalane.

April attended the training camp when it started last month, but disappeared after the Nedbank SA Half Marathon in Port Elizabeth three weeks ago.

Matalane has never been part of the camp. Last month it was reported that his wife was pregnant.

He could not be reached for comment on the cellphone number provided to Sowetan by ASA yesterday.

The person who answered the phone said he did not know who Matalane was.

April could also not be reached as he was said to be training in the mountains in Eastern Cape.

ASA's general manager Molatelo "Lati" Malehopo said yesterday that they were left with no alternative but to drop the duo from the squad.

"We can't tolerate ill-discipline in our programme and we are hoping that those we are taking to Berlin will represent us with aplomb," Malehopo said.

"We tried in vain to contact them and we decided not to sit back and complain about their refusal to come to camp. Life will continue without them.

"Enos and Lusapho are marathoners and they should prepare together with their teammates. This is not a track and field event where athletes train individually.

"Kenyan and Ethiopian marathoners always succeed in the marathon events because their athletes work in tandem. We are running a professional organisation here and we will not allow athletes to do as they please."

ASA should be applauded for its actions.

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