Cape Town - Athletics South Africa (ASA) has extended its congratulations to Lusapho April who made history by becoming the first man to win the Hannover Marathon in Germany three times.
April, who won the race in 2011 and 2013, secured victory in 2:11:27 on Sunday after breaking clear of a small lead group in the closing stages.
April is now among a long list of South African men who have already achieved the qualifying standard of 2:19:00 for the 42km race at the Rio Olympics, but will await ASA's decision on who will make the final team.
Among other leading contenders are Stephen Mokoka (2:07:40), who has the option to race on the track after qualifying in the 5 000m and 10 000m events as well, Sibusiso Nzima (2:11:43), Lungile Gongqa (2:11:59) and Michael Mazibuko (2:12:29).
"Congratulations to Lusapho April and (we) encourage him to remain focused as he builds up his athletics season. The performances of our runners are proving that South Africans are becoming a force to be reckoned with in 2016 as we build up to the Rio Games," said ASA president Aleck Skhosana.
"We wish him and all other Olympic contenders well for the remainder of the season, as they represent our nation with pride on the global road running circuit."
The qualifying window for the Olympic marathon closes on April 30, with a number of men and women still expected to make qualifying bids before the national squad is announced and then handed over to SASCOC.