ASA: Athletes to take the brunt
James Evans (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The country's elite athletes will be affected more than the governing body
for the sport, Athletics SA (ASA) president James Evans said on Sunday after
the federation was suspended from the Olympic movement.
He said ASA would struggle to match the contributions made to athletes by
the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), which has suspended
it and removed ASA registered athletes from its Operation Excellence (Opex)
"The only thing that really worries me is the Opex athletes,"
"We're not even sure of the costs of that, or how many people are on the
programme, but we'll need to find a way to plug that gap."
Five track and field athletes - sprinter Anaso Jobodwana, Olympic long jump
silver medallist Khotso Mokoena, Olympic high hurdles finalist Lehann Fourie,
African women's javelin record holder Sunette Viljoen and Olympic decathlete
Willem Coertzen - were in the top tier of the latest Opex list for funding and
support, which was released in May.
Three other athletes were in the third tier, and three more were in the Opex
special support programme in the build-up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
While the athletes could take a financial knock, Evans believed the Sascoc
suspension would give ASA an opportunity to get its house in order.
He hoped it would be able to rejoin Sascoc before the next major
championship held under the banner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
- the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, in July 2014.
"This can only be good for us, because it means there is no more
interference," Evans said.
"The next IOC event is not until next year, so we have a year to sort
out our problems."
Evans said ASA hoped to send a team to the World Youth Championships in
Donetsk, Ukraine, next month. This is not an IOC event.
While the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) would
cover the costs of nine athletes to attend the championships, the financially
embattled ASA would have to find the money to pay for the rest of the 33-member
team named earlier this month.
"We can't really make the team any smaller. Who do we leave out?"
"We have already selected a small team, as we've said we will only take
athletes who can reach the finals of their events."
He confirmed that a team would be sent to the world senior championships in
Moscow, Russia, in August, as the IAAF would cover the travel costs of all
athletes who met the qualifying criteria.
Sascoc said on Sunday that it was suspending ASA in terms of Clause 9.3 of
its Articles of Association, after its members ignored sanctions placed on the
The decision to suspend ASA had been endorsed by national federation
presidents and provincial sport confederation presidents, according to Sascoc
president Gideon Sam, at a council meeting in Johannesburg at the weekend.
Earlier this month, the IAAF confirmed its support for the elected ASA board
members, and said it did not recognise Sascoc-appointed ASA administrator Zola
"We have engaged with the IAAF verbally, in writing and via a meeting
in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 15," Sam said.
"It has been evident that the IAAF does not recognise Sascoc as a
sports authority in South Africa. The IAAF would rather support ASA."
He said that while ASA could continue to engage with the IAAF on the
functioning and administration of the sport, it was no longer affiliated to