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SA marathon trio fade in Olympic marathon

South Africa’s marathon runners failed to fire in the London Olympic marathon, which saw Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich tactically destroy Kenyan plans with a medal-determining break 35 kilometres into the race, writes Norrie Williamson.

The early pace reduced the contenders to 10 at half way which was reached in one hour three minutes 15 seconds with London Marathon winner, Wilson Kiprotich, holding a 15 second advantage.

By the final of three laps Kenyans Abel Kirui, and Kiprotich, together with his Ugandan namesake, Stephen Kiprotich, were out alone leaving  the medal positions to be determined later in the race.

On one of the hottest days of the London Olympics, the pace dropped up front, allowing the Ugandan to sprint through one of the many corners and breaking free of the Kenyan duo, on a seven kilometre journey that earned him the Olympic gold medal in 2:08:01.

Kenya’s early leader didn’t have the legs to respond, while Kirui had his work cut out to keep the gap to 26 seconds for silver.

As in the past the South African trio of Stephen Mokoka, April Lushapo and Coolboy Ngamole were punching above their bodyweight taking on the leaders, with Mokoka holding a top 10 position alongside many who were two to five minutes faster than his 2:08:33 best.

Predictably a slight increase in pace early in the third lap saw the cracks appear.

ÔÇ£I was comfortable with them until 29km, but just couldn’t hold on,” said the 27-year-old from Gauteng North. ÔÇ£The guys caught me at 34-35km. they were coming at pace and I couldn’t stick with them.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£If I could run it again I would run it the same way as I was training for 2:06,ÔÇØ continued Mokoka who will return to discuss his future with coach Michael Seme, who coached Caster Semenya to the World Championships 800m title in Berlin in 2009.

Mokoka lost 38 places in the last 12km to finish 49th in 2:19:52, with April beating him to line by six places and 52 seconds.

An exhausted Coolboy Ngamole withdrew from the race on the Embankment with less than seven kilometres remaining, having already dropped into the fifties.

From a conservative start Zimbabwean Cuthbert Nyasango moved through from 29th at 10km to finish seventh in a personal best 2:12:08, with countryman Wirimal Juwawo running a seasons best 2:14:09 in 15th position.


1 comments
Lisa Marie Jerrard
Lisa Marie Jerrard

Coolboy Ngamole did not withdrawl, he collapsed. I'm particularly concerned about his recovery. He was on the cement alone for 2 minutes in front of us where he was finally offered water. Being unconcsious made his recovery difficult. It took 12 minutes for anyone to call a medic/ambulance. A pedistrian doctor began treatment at 16 minutes and was shortly joined by a medic on bike. An ambulance was called but did not arrive until after 50 minutes! We watched, complained, harrassed Gamemakers and security officers to get him help. They were told that London 2012 had only 1 ambulance for the marathon and Coolboy was second in line. We called 999, we continually prompted them to get him an ambulance. The water station had packed up, the crowds had dispursed, the fences were down, yet your athlete still lay unconscious on the cement. No ambulance for 50 minutes in central London. We could have carried him to two hospitals in the time it took.