MASERU – Tebello Ramokongoana’s struggle to maintain his performance at the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States was because he had to run in a new (therefore unfamiliar) pair of shoes. The global athletics event kicked-off from July 15 and is expected to come to an end on July 24.
According to the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) Secretary General, Makara Thibinyane, Ramokongoana had to run in new Adidas running shoes which were bought in Oregon after he lost his bag full of his competition attire at the Moshoeshoe I International Airport as he departed for the world champs last Thursday. Thibinyane said Ramakongoana’s lost attire was found on Monday this week, a day after the men’s marathon which took place last Sunday.
The 25-year-old Ramakongoana came on position 35 out of 38 competitors in men’s marathon, clocking in 2:12:35 to make his seasonal best time. “Considering the fact that he lost his competition attire, including running shoes on his way to Oregon, I would say he did well over there despite what happened,” said Thibinyane in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday this week. “He realised that he lost his bag full of competition attire when he checked in over there and, as a result, he had to compete in new Adidas running shoes.”
Thibinyane further said: “The fact that they were brand new made it difficult for him to run over a long distance.” The FAL secretary general said Ramakongoana began to struggle after the half way mark (21.1km), obviously because of his new running shoes. “If you have noticed, he started to struggle after the half-way mark and at the time he was among the chasing group. That was obliviously because of his new Adidas running shoes.”
Thibinyane said they were satisfied with Ramakongoana’s performance at the world champs. “We are satisfied with his performance. He fought for it and registered a quite good time despite the difficulty of having to run in new shoes.” This was Ramakongoana’s first appearance at the world champs and his second marathon in history. Ramakongoana will also represent Lesotho at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
The Birmingham games are scheduled to take place from July 28 to August 8. Ramakongoana was initially supposed to compete in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games but that changed after he also qualified for the world champs. Now Ramakongoana will be competing in the men’s 10 000 metres at the Birmingham games, with Thibinyane saying this was because he cannot not compete in another marathon within a short space of time after the world champs. He said a marathoner needed 12 weeks to rest before he can run in another marathoner.
“Yes, it may be that we are risking him (for him to run 10 000 metres after a competitive world champs marathon), but at least he is not going to run another marathon. “Because an athlete needs 12 weeks to rest before they can compete in another marathon.” Ramakongoana competed in the 10 000 metres at the recent African Championships in Athletics which were held in Saint Pierre, Mauritius from July 8 to 12 this year where he came on last position out of 12 competitors.