Johannesburg - South Africa's university sports body has withdrawn its membership of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) in order to allow the country's athletics team to compete at the World Student Games, University Sport SA (USSA) president Tyrone Pretorius confirmed on Sunday.
The 27-member track and field and road running contingent had been omitted from the squad named earlier in the week, after Athletics SA (ASA) was suspended by Sascoc.
"We have taken the painful decision to withdraw our membership from Sascoc to allow our athletes to compete at the Games," Pretorius said at the team send-off in Kempton Park.
The athletics team includes Olympic 200m finalist Anaso Jobodwana, who has been knocking on the door of both national short sprint records this season, and Akani Simbine, who set a new SA junior 100m mark of 10.19 seconds in December last year.
Jobodwana and Simbine will spearhead the 4x100m relay quartet as South Africa aim to defend the gold medal they won at the 2011 World Student Games in Shenzhen, China.
Versatile long-distance runner Stephen Mokoka, who will compete in the half-marathon, is targeting his third medal at the Games, while javelin thrower Robert Oosthuizen, a former IAAF World Championships finalist, and in-form 400m hurdler PC Beneke are also in the team.
The 120-member SA squad will compete in 12 sporting codes at the World Student Games, which starts in Kazan, Russia, on Saturday.