Ramaala’s hope for fifth Olympics not in his hands

2012-04-28 18:45

Long distance sensation Stephen Mokoka holds the key to Hendrick Ramaala’s hopes for a berth in South Africa’s final team for the Olympic Games.

Mokoka is leading the queue of the hopefuls in the marathon team and only three will be selected for the final team, as per the Sascoc Olympics selection criteria.

The 27-year-old has also set his first Olympic qualifying time in the 10 000m, an achievement which has now put him in a strong position to qualify for two different events.

Mokoka said he has not decided which event he will aim for at the London Games, which run from July 27 to August 12.

“My coach (Michael Seme) and I are yet to decide on that. At the moment I am not in a position to say whether I am ready for the marathon or the 10 000m,” said the Transnet Athletics Club distance ace.

Said Seme: “We are still in the process of drafting training programmes and any decision we make will be based on how he reacts to one of the two events.

“We are looking beyond the Olympics as Stephen must still continue to excel in distance running after that.”

Ramaala, who is chasing an unprecedented fifth appearance at the Olympics by a local, is fourth in the list of the five men who have dipped under the Olympics’ A-standard mark of 2:15.00.

His other chance is to be selected by ASA as a reserve, which is allowed by the Olympics selection rules.

Tomorrow is the cut-off date for the Olympics marathon qualifiers and as things stand, Mokoka’s time of 2:10.29 is the fastest ahead of Coolboy Ngamole (2:10.43) and Lusapho April (2:11:09), with Ramaala (2:12.22) and Othaniel Phahlane (2:14.55) at fourth and fifth places respectively.

“We did the running and now it is entirely up to selectors who to pick,” said the 40-year-old Ramaala.
Meanwhile, there won’t be any hassles when it comes to naming the women’s team.

Rene Kalmer (2:29.59), Irvette van Blerk (2:33.41) and Tanith Maxwell (2:36.57) are the trio of ladies that beat the Games’s A-standard 2:37.00 to be eligible for selection.

This will be the first time that Team SA will have a full complement of marathon teams at the Olympics.

The team is new to the Olympic stage except for Kalmer, who competed at the 2008 Beijing Games, albeit in the 15 000m.

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