Ramakongoana makes World Champs debut



MASERU – Tebello Ramakongoana will make his first ever appearance at the World Athletics Championships as the global event kicks off today in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States. This 18th edition of the World Athletics Championships is set to come to an end on July 24. Ramakongoana, 25, is going to be Lesotho’s lone representative at the global athletics championships. According to the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) Secretary General, Makara Thibinyane, Ramakongoana is going to compete at the men’s marathon, which is set to take place this coming Sunday.

Ramakongoana was expected to leave for Oregon yesterday together with FAL President, Tšeliso Pheta, who will be attending athletics presidential meetings to be held in the country. “Ramakongoana is going to be the country’s lone representative at the World Champs in Oregon and will leave this Thursday (yesterday) together with FAL President, Tšeliso Pheta, since he will be attending global athletics meetings to be held over there in the presence of the World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe,’’ said Thibinyane in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday this week.

Ramakongoana qualified for the World Championship last year at the Cape Town Marathon, in South Africa, when he came in third position on 2:10:24, with the international qualifying standard for the men’s marathon being 2:11:30. Thibinyane said Lesotho was supposed to send two athletes to the Oregon World Athletics Championships had it not been because of the fact that ’Neheng Khatala has been forced to withdraw her participation since she is going to the Commonwealth Games.

“We had two athletes who qualified for the World Champs and the other one was ’Neheng Khatala but she withdrew her participation, saying she was preparing for the Commonwealth Games.” Thibinyane further said: “Of course, her request not to participate at the World Champs was understandable since the World Champs and the Commonwealth Games are to be held in a very short space of time in between while an athlete needs 10 weeks to recover before running another marathon.”

Khatala did not have time to recover for the Tokyo Olympic Games since she qualified for the Olympics women’s marathon very late last year. Ramakongoana, Thibinyane said, had also chosen the Oregon World Athletics Championships over the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, also because he could not run two marathons in a very short space of time in between.

“Ramakongoana had also qualified both for the World Champs and the Commonwealth Games marathon but he chose the World Champs since he could not afford to compete in both events since they are to be held in a very short space of time in between.” Thibinyane said Ramakongoana was in good shape for the competition despite that he pulled a muscle at a training session at home last Saturday. “He is very good,” Thibinyane said. “It is true that he pulled a muscle during a training on Saturday and was taken to a physio, and he is now well.” Ramakongoana ranks number 1 921 in the world overall; 151 in men’s road running, 266 in men’s marathon and 788 in men’s 10 000m.

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