Will the legends make it to London?

2012-03-03 21:32

Ethiopian distance running icon Haile Gebrselassie is likely to be conspicuous by his absence at the Olympic Marathon in London.

It seems as if Gebrselassie has given up on his Olympic dream after he came second at the Tokyo Marathon last Sunday.

The 38-year-old ran seven minutes faster than the Games’ 2:15 A-standard qualifier, yet his 2:08 mark left him queuing at number 14 in the line of Ethiopia’s Olympic hopefuls.

South Africa’s Hendrick Ramaala, another recognisable face in the distance running sphere, also finds himself out of the reckoning.

The Olympics qualification system allows national federations to enter up to three athletes for each event on the athletics programme.

“After Tokyo I am a bit disappointed. I was on my way to 2:05 until the 30km mark. It looks like my Olympic marathon dream is over,” Gebrselassie tweeted this week.

The Ethiopian businessman said during his tour of South Africa last year that a 42km medal was the missing piece in his illustrious career.

He has two Olympic medals over 10 000m.

Unlike Gebrselassie, Ramaala said he was not about to give up in his bid for a fifth straight participation at the quadrennial spectacle.

Ramalaa (40) ran 2:12.22 at the Dubai Marathon two months ago but his time is slower than that of Steven Mokoka (2:10.29), Coolboy Ngamole (2:10.43) and Lusapho April (2:11.09), who all qualified towards the end of last year.

“I just need a 2:09 or 2:10 and its do-able,” said the 2004 New York Marathon winner.

“The ‘Emperor’ – Gebrselassie – looks like he’s in trouble but I still have time to do it. Maybe the team selectors must reserve a spot for legends,” he joked.

Ramaala said he was now able to concentrate fully on his training, since leaving the athletics office where he was the interim senior administrator for almost two years.

The Olympic marathon qualifying deadline is July 8 and the race is on August 12.

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