World Athletics set stringent qualifying criteria for the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in August 2023.
Ramaala, a proud SA 10 000m record holder (27:29:94) set in February 1999 in Gqeberha, told SABC Sport, he would like to see five of his athletes from the Zoo Lake training group book their ticket to Hungary.
However, he knows it requires a massive effort for them to run the qualifying time.
Maxime Chaumeton opened his season by winning the Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) track and field championships at the Germiston Stadium last week, clocking 13:57:76.
Veteran road runner Precious Mashele finished in second place in 13:57:84, with his Zoo Lake mate Nicholas Seopasengwe taking third place in 14:05:58.
Chaumeton and Mashele are part of the 27-member squad scheduled to represent South Africa at the World Cross Championships in Bathurst, Australia, on 18 February.
On Wednesday, the renowned athletics coach Ramaala took his athletes through their paces in the rain at Zoo Lake to help them to prepare for the upcoming trip to Australia.
“We wanted to test the athletes before they leave for Australia next week, and it was mission accomplished. But running 13:07:00 is a tall order. The main thing is not to run 13:07:00 but to qualify through the world rankings. World Athletics will take the top-ranked 45 runners from the 5000m to Hungary, and we can have two representatives from the list. Not many can run that time. It is about competing and making points to qualify through the world rankings. But the runners should have the competitions and the opportunity to attempt the qualifying time,” Ramaala told the national broadcaster.
“Mashele and Maxime can push for the world rankings if they can get the opportunity to run a couple of races. Nicholas (21) is still young, and we do not want to rush him,” Explained Ramaala.
Ramaala is optimistic about the 2023 athletics season, and he wants to see his runners representing the Zoo Lakes training Group qualifying for the World Cross Country in Australia, World Championships in Budapest, World half-marathon championships (Latvia), and dominate the SA Senior Track and Field championships in Potchefstroom in North West in April.
Ramaala is confident that Chaumeton Mashele can break his 24-year-old SA 10 000m record this year.
“Maxime is a go-getter and can break this record before Mashele. Mashele is more experienced and a hard worker. But for the record to tumble, the runners need the opportunities and want to see the financial incentives to help them do it.
We found the secret recipe for middle and long-distance runners at Zoo Lake, and we look forward to a great 2023 season. My guys are running faster than I did as an active athlete. They are willing to take the pain and want the money and the fame. It is easy for me to hold the stopwatch and coach them,” said Ramaala.