Marathon legend Ramaala to run for Presidency


April 24, 2014 (ISN) – Veteran marathon runner Hendrick Ramaala will run for the Athletics South Africa (ASA) Presidency next month in a bid to replace former rival James Evans, he has revealed.

The 42-year-old Ramaala, who served as ASA vice-president between 2012 and 2013, confirmed his intention to run after finishing second at the Two Oceans Marathon last weekend.

He is confident his bid will be a successful one. 

“I am going back to run for office again and I am going to win,” he told IOL Sport.

“Nothing will stand in my way and I believe I am the right person to save the ASA. 

“The members like me, I can call and talk to them all the time, and the members will vote for me because they believe in me. 

“Our campaign is strong and we will officially start it this week.” 

This comes after period of fierce division within the governing body, and in June 2013 the ASA Board was suspended by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) before being dissolved in December at an annual general meeting in Johannesburg.

But, although much of the dispute focused around a feud between Ramaala and Evans, the pair spoke and shook hands at the weekend, and Ramaala insisted there is no bad blood between them and they could still work together well in the future. 

Hendrick Ramaala has been involved in an internal power struggle with current President James Evans ©Getty Images
Hendrick Ramaala has been involved in an internal power struggle with current Athletics South Africa President James Evans ©Getty Images

In addition to a law degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, Ramaala brings to the table several decades of experience as one of the top distance runners ever produced in South Africa. 

After breaking the national 10,000m record with a time of 27min 29.94sec in 1999, he turned to the road and won the New York City and Mumbai Marathon’s in 2004. 

He also has took two silver medals from the World Half Marathon Championships in 1998 and 1999, as well as the Lisbon Half Marathon title in 2001.

Although he has enjoyed less success in recent years, the veteran showed he is far from finished with an impressive second placed showing at the gruellig 56km Two Oceans Marathon ultra-run, in which he clocked 3 hours 11min 33sec and was beaten by less than two minutes by Lesotho’s Lebenya Nkoka.

Ramaala is now focusing on competing in the marathon at the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing, in addition to his administrative ambitions. 

As well as for the ASA Presidential position, nominations have also been made for vice-president, and for the chairmanship of commissions spanning cross country, road running, and track and field, as well as an Athletes’ Commission.

The deadline for nominations for all these positions is today, before a decision is taken by the temporary, ad-hoc Board on an as-of-yet unspecified date in May.


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