Athletics 21.8.2016 08:30 pm

April battles as Team SA closes out its campaign

Lusapho April. Picture: Gallo Images

Lusapho April. Picture: Gallo Images

The SA team completed their campaign with 10 medals (two gold, six silver and two bronze), equalling the biggest haul in the nation’s 112-year Olympic history.

Distance runner Lusapho April admitted he struggled on Sunday, after finishing well down the field in the men’s marathon on the final day of the Rio Olympics.

The 34-year-old athlete held on to a large lead group for most of the race, but after the front runners started winding up the pace approaching the 30km mark, he drifted off the back and faded to 24th position.

He crossed the line in 2:15:24, with Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge securing victory in 2:08:44.

Fellow South African Sibusiso Nzima struggled in the second half, finishing 97th in 2:25:33, and Lungile Gongqa did not finish the race.

“I kept fighting because this is what I’ve been training for over the last four years, but it wasn’t my day,” said April, who picked up multiple blisters on the ends of his toes due to the wet conditions. The conditions were bad, but it’s the same for everyone. There’s nothing I can do.

“I’ll just have to live with it, go back to the drawing board, try to fix what went wrong and take it from there.”

Meanwhile, cyclist Alan Hatherly was the first South African rider to finish the men’s mountain bike cross country race, taking 26th place in 1:42:03, while James Reid was more than three laps off the pace.

Nino Schurter of Switzerland won the race in 1:33:28.

 

 

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