Johannesburg - Athletics South Africa (ASA) could soon receive some financial relief once a $500 000 (R6,2m) deal with a Kuwaiti benefactor has been concluded, SASCOC president Gideon Sam said here on Wednesday.
“The federation must be willing to come forward and say this is what we are putting in place and I can see Aleck Skhosana (ASA president) with his team are concentrating on that,” Sam said.
“We are always assisting, on my visit to Kuwait I told a Sheikh there, 'we have a poor guy in athletics' and he said 'let’s put in $500 000'.”
Reeling from legacy issues and the R10.4m ASA was ordered to pay pole vaulter Jan Blignaut by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria added to the beleaguered federation’s debt.
However, Sam gave ASA a rosier outlook with the sport getting its house in order on and off the track.
“Lotto has given them some money and their finances are coming alright and that is why they can select such a big team for Beijing (IAAF World Championships),” Sam said.
“I was surprised and called Aleck Skhosana and asked him if he was sure and he said they all qualified according to the standards.”
Skhosana confirmed on Wednesday that SASCOC had initiated discussions for a donor to partner with ASA ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“We met with Gideon and the relevant people there to discuss among other things support for South African athletes,” Skhosana said.
“The purpose for that kind of money is to ensure our athletes benefit from it by getting to the best competitions in the world without any difficulty in their preparations for the Olympic Games.”
Skhosana said when he approached SASCOC earlier this year he was starting from a weak negotiating position.
The stabilisation of the federation, and ultimately the good performances of athletes on the global stage has made ASA a more appealing investment partner.
“South African athletics came from the doldrums and there were no performances or television coverage but now it is easy to talk to people,” Skhosana said.
“The media is now writing about positive things, about records being broken and athletes performing all over.
“Sponsors buy into performances, entertainment and structured organisations that is at peace with itself and I think it is the right time to talk about that.”