Ramaala surprised at inclusion in Team SA

ATHLETICS SA has named its team for the African Senior Track and Field Championships. The team includes Hendrick Ramaala but excludes world 800m champion Caster Semenya.

ATHLETICS SA has named its team for the African Senior Track and Field Championships. The team includes Hendrick Ramaala but excludes world 800m champion Caster Semenya.

Many people were expecting that the ASA interim leadership would include Semenya in the provisional team while awaiting the results of her gender verification tests, which are due in June.

The championships are scheduled for Nairobi, Kenya, from July 28 to August 1.

But Ramaala was surprised to learn from Sowetan yesterday that he had been included.

"This is news to me. They did not even have the decency to check my fitness level. Anyway, I will wait until I get a call from them. It is funny that they have announced a team to Kenya but failed to support the athletes financially to prepare," Ramaala said.

"Most athletes are of the view that the situation was much better under Leonard Chuene since athletes used to get a monthly stipend of R3000. Athletes have not been paid by ASA since October. It's bad because athletes are now living from hand to mouth."

Other top athletes going to Kenya include Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Ruben Ramolefi, Sunette Viljoen, Elizna Naude, Simon Magakwe, Stephen Mokoka, Mapaseka Makanya and Lebogang Phalula.

Also in the 56-member team are Khotso Mokoena, Lebo Phalula, Rene Kalmer, Chris Harmse, Thuso Mpuang, Lungisa Mdedelwa, Tebogo Masehla and Leigh Julius.

ASA administrator Ray Mali said: "ASA will endeavour to organise competition opportunities over the six weeks leading up to July 6, when the final team will be announced. Athletes not listed can still qualify for the CAA Africa Senior Championships provided they meet the selection criteria during the window period in June and July."

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