April pulls out of world championships
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Johannesburg – South Africa's hope of a good showing in the men's marathon event at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow next week was dealt a further blow on Tuesday when Lusapho April pulled out with an Achilles injury.
“I'm very disappointed I will miss the world champs,” April said on Tuesday.
“I have Achilles tendonitis and it could take weeks or months to heal, but hopefully it won't be too long.”
The six-athlete provisional marathon team was sized down to only three after Irvette van Zyl withdrew from the women's team.
An administrative blunder by Athletics SA (ASA) also saw Cornelia Joubert being withdrawn from the team.
Joubert ran a qualification time of two hours 39 minutes (2:39) at the Orange Marathon in Mauritius in June, but it was later discovered the event was not recognised as a qualification event by the IAAF.
Earlier South Africa's top long-distance runner Rene Kalmer declared herself unavailable for selection as she was not fully fit to compete at the highest level.
April's withdrawal left South Africa with only three representatives in the marathon.
South Africa would now be represented by Hendrick Ramaala and Sibusiso Mzima in the men's race, while Tanith Maxwell will be the only women her event.
Ramaala, 41, will be appearing in his sixth world championships.
April booked his place for the global showpiece after he set a new course record at the Hannover Marathon in May, winning in a personal best time of 2:08:32, shaving off 20 seconds from the previous record set by Yusuf Songoka in 2010.
His next assignment will be the New York City Marathon on November 3. – Sapa
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