Pistorius has funding cut

2013-05-23 13:01
Oscar Pistorius (AP)
Cape Town - Oscar Pistorius and Caster Semenya were left off a list of athletes to be given funding ahead of the 2016 Rio Games because neither is currently training or competing, the South African Olympic Committee said on Thursday.

Pistorius, a double-amputee runner who competed at the London Games, was not on the high performance list for the next Olympics and Paralympics after his decision to stay away from competition for the rest of the year to focus on defending himself against a murder charge for the shooting death of his girlfriend in February.

While Pistorius' absence on the list released on Wednesday was expected, Semenya's was a major surprise after building a reputation as South Africa's top runner over the past four years.

She won the 800m world title in Berlin in 2009 and returned to competition following a yearlong absence because of a gender test controversy to win silver medals at the 2011 worlds and last year's London Olympics.

Still only 22, Semenya is seen as South Africa's best hope for an Olympic track title in Rio, but wasn't part of the Operation Excellence program because she wasn't training or competing and it was unclear if she would run at this year's world championships, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee chief executive Tubby Reddy said on Thursday.

"There is no point spending money on athletes that are not training," Reddy said.

But Reddy also said that the list wasn't definitive and athletes could work their way back into the funding program.

He didn't rule out Pistorius being eligible for a place if he was cleared of the murder charge against him.

"It is very simplistic," Reddy said, "if he (Pistorius) is found not guilty he could be on the program."

The multiple Paralympic champion had aimed to end his track career by running at his second able-bodied Olympics in Rio, but that looks increasingly unlikely as he faces a long trial after being charged with premeditated murder. Pistorius will appear in court again on June 4.

There was also still a chance Semenya could be added to the list, Reddy said, "if she is back on track, if she is training."

Semenya did not take part at the South African national championships at the beginning of April and SASCOC and Athletics South Africa were unsure of her plans for 2013 and if she would try to qualify for the worlds in Moscow in August, Reddy said.

The decision to leave Pistorius and Semenya off the list - which included Olympic champion swimmers Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh - came after Athletics South Africa did not propose them for the programme, the Olympic committee said.

However, that process was complicated because the entire board of ASA was suspended by SASCOC amid an internal power struggle and the body is being run by an administrator.

ASA president James Evans, who is disputing his suspension, said he was not consulted in leaving Semenya off the program and was surprised by the decision.

"She is the golden girl of South African athletics," Evans told the AP. "I'm actually flabbergasted that they've pulled her."

Operation Excellence helps athletes with money for living expenses, medical treatment and access to training venues, among other things, SASCOC said.

The names of athletes on the latest Olympic and Paralympic support programmes are as follows:

Olympic Programme

Tier One

Athletics: Anaso Jobodwana, Khotso Mokoena, Lehann Fourie, Sunette Viljoen, Willem Coertzen
Canoeing: Bridgitte Hartley
Rowing: James Thompson, John Smith, Lawrence Ndlovu
Swimming: Cameron Van Der Burgh, Chad Le Clos, Roland Schoeman
Triathlon: Richard Murray

Tier Two

Cycling: Teagan O’Keeffe
Equestrian: Samantha McIntosh
Gymnastics: Kirsten Beckett
Triathlon: Wian Sullwald
Tier Three

Athletics: Cornel Fredericks, Lynique Prinsloo, Zarck Visser
Boxing: Siphiwe Lusizi, Ayabonga Sonjica, Tulani Mbenge
Canoeing: Tiffany Kruger
Cycling: Ashleigh Moolman, Bernard Esterhuizen
Judo: Jacques Van Zyl
Rowing: Lee Ann Persse, Naydene Smith
Sailing: Asenathi Jim, Roger Hudson
Swimming: Michael Meyer, Myles Brown
Weightlifting: Jean Greeff
Olympics Special Support Programme

Athletics: Elroy Gelant, PC Beneke, Wade Van Niekerk
Badminton: Jacob Maliekal
Cycling: Candice Neethling, Nolan Hoffman
Judo: Siyabulela Mabulu
Rowing: Men’s Pair
Table Tennis: Team
Taekwondo: Joseph Maponyane, Hamilton Motawana, Gopolang Mokoka
Weightlifting: Team
Paralympic Programme

Tier One

Athletics: Anrune Liebenberg, Arnu Fourie, Dyan Buis, Hilton Langenhoven, Ilse Hayes, Michael Louwrens, Jonathan Ntutu, Fanie van der Merwe, Tebogo Mokgalagadi, Union Sekailwe
Cycling: Ernst Van Dyk  
Swimming: Charl Bouwer, Hendri Herbst, Kevin Paul

Tier Two

Athletics: Andrea Dalle Ave, Casper Schutte, Charl Du Toit    
Tier Three

Cycling: Gerhard Viljoen
Paralympics Special Support

Athletics: Chenelle Van Zyl, Zandile Nhlapo, Louzanne Coetzee, Zanele Situ
Cycling: Roxy Burns, Stuart McCreadie
Swimming: Achmat Hassiem, Shireen Sapiro 
Rowing: Sandra Khumalo
Shooting: Von Zeuner Kohne
Wheelchair Tennis: Kgothatso Montjane, Lucas Sithole    
Table Tennis: Team

The shortlist of athletes recommend for bursary support until completion of their studies is as follows:

Katlego Sotsaka (rowing), Akani Simbine (athletics), Maite Makola (football), Kristen Matthews (fencing), Suzaan Broodryk (athletics), Jacque Joubert (athletics), Justine Palframan (athletics), Natalie Friesling (gymnastics), Nthabiseng Matshaba (football), Johannes Pretorius (athletics), Landelani Ngubane (basketball)


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