Dan Craven won the bronze medal in the men’s road race at the African Cycling Championships on Sunday to qualify Namibia for the 2012 Olympic Games.
It was a great achievement by Craven who received little support after his three Namibian team mates Petrus Lotto, Victor Krohne and Ingram Cuff all dropped out at various stages of the 144km race.
Daniel Teklehaimanot of Eritrea won the race in a time of 3:54:06, with his compatriot Meron Russom beating Craven in a sprint to the line to claim the silver medal, with both cyclists finishing in 3:54:34.
Adil Jelloul of Morocco and Araya Dawit Haile of Eritrea finished fourth and fifth respectively in 3:55:20 each, while the first South African was Reinardt Janse van Rensburg who finished seventh in 3:55:37.
Only 37 of the 106 starters managed to finish the tough route which consisted of 12 laps of 12km each through the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
The result means that Namibia is assured of a place at the 2012 Olympic Games along with Eritrea, while South Africa had already qualified earlier.
In a short email to Namibia Sport, Craven expressed his delight at winning a medal and qualifying for the Olympics.
“I am over the moon with achieving my goal here, especially after the scare I had earlier of being sick,” he said.
Craven’s elation was in sharp contrast to his disappointment at not winning a medal during the individual time trial on Friday, when he finished fifth.
Teklehaimanot made it a double for Eritrea by also winning the individual time trial in 44:37, followed by Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg of South Africa (51 seconds behind) and Azzedine Lagab of Algeria, 2:24 behind the winner. Adrien Niyonshuti of Rwanda came fourth, also at 2:24 behind, while Craven finished fifth, 2:32 behind the winner.
“I am very disappointed with the result. I never got on top of the race, which means that I just could not push the power that I should have been able to,” he said, adding that he feared being sick.
“After a nap I woke up with swollen glands and not feeling too great, which goes some way to explaining the terrible performance, but it is still no excuse. I am really unhappy.”
Craven will stay on in Kigali to participate in the Tour of Rwanda which starts on Wednesday.