Chilly Paris brings no luck for Ramaala
SOUTH African athletics icon Hendrick Ramaala's 2012 London Olympics' dream went up in smoke in Europe yesterday morning.
This was after Ramaala finished a disappointing 33rd during the Paris Marathon in 2 hours, 17 minutes and 57 seconds in extremely chilly conditions in France.
Forty-year-old Ramaala was hoping to make history by being the first South African athlete to compete in five consecutive Olympic Games.
He wanted to finish in 2hrs:10min to guarantee himself a place in the final three-man SA marathon squad to the Olympics.
As things stand, Lusapho April (2:09:25), Stephen Mokoka (2:10:29) and Coolboy Malinga (2:10:43) have the best qualifying times.
Ramaala has already met the Olympic standard set by the authorities but his time is the fourth fastest.
This was after he finished 19th at the Dubai Marathon last month with a time of 2:12:12.
"It's all over, I was messed up by the weather.
It is extremely cold here," said Ramaala soon after crossing the finish line.
"I'm not disappointed because I gave it my best shot - it was worth trying.
"But this is not the end of my athletics career, I will continue running to support my family. Athletics is my career.
"I have decided to take a week's break before I can go back to the road," said Ramaala.
Meanwhile, Kenyan Stanley Biwott won the Paris marathon in a race record of two hours, five minutes and 11 seconds over 42,195km.
Biwott beat compatriot Kenyan Vincent Kipruto's previous Paris mark by 36 seconds.
Ethiopia's Girima Assefa was second, crossing the finish line on Avenue Foch one minute 12 seconds behind.
Ethiopian Astede Bayisa won the women's race in a Paris record of two hours, 21 minutes and 39 seconds.