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SA athletes back Viljoen in SASCOC Rio-saga

2016-08-24 14:25
Sunette Viljoen (Photo by ©Christiaan Kotze/SASPA)

Cape Town - South African Olympians have supported Sunette Viljoen after the South African javelin thrower hit out at the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

Earlier this week, the Rio Olympics winning silver medallist brought up the issue of funding for South Africa's athletes.

It followed sports minister Fikile Mbalula's announcement that additional cash bonuses would be paid to the Team SA medal winners at the Olympic Games.

Viljoen was set to claim R200 000 for her silver medal, and will now receive an additional R70 000.

The 32-year-old took to Twitter and lashed out at SASCOC for its poor treatment of the South African athletes, which according to Viljoen has been going on for a long time.

Mbalula reacted to the javelin thrower's comments by saying that she "complains too much" and has a "lots of negative energy".

Viljoen, who is a part of SASCOC's Operation Excellence (OPEX) programme, said although she knows many athletes share her despair, she sometimes feels as if she is the only athlete willing to speak out, saying:

"I am always the only athlete speaking out and that does not help our cause. I can not fight alone anymore."

"Or perhaps I am the only athlete with bad experiences with sports administration. Who knows. But I doubt it."

Soon afterwards, South African 400m hurdle runner LJ van Zyl tweeted back in support of his compatriot saying, "I had to cell my @samsung gift phone just to help cover some costs for my Rio prep. So don't feel alone."

All participating athletes in Rio were given a complimentary limited edition Samsung 7 with matching wireless headphones.

The tracksuits have been an ongoing controversial issue with some saying it resembled the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Viljoen further stated that athletes had to use their own money to make alternations to the baggy tracksuit: "Had to pay out of my own pocket for my Olympic kit to be adjusted by a tailor, because sizes were not taken."

Bridgitte Hartley, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, joined in on the tracksuit discussion saying she also had to alter her tracksuit with her own money.

During the 2016 Olympic Games, there was also outrage over the South African golfing bags, while former Olympic gold medallist Roland Schoeman said one of the amazing things about partaking in an Olympiad was the amazing kit that the athletes received, and that he was excited by what he got when he participated in the 2004 Athens Games.

Viljoen said she was heartbroken when she opened her Olympic kit: "... most of the athletes left their hideous kits behind in the Olympic village."

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