South African Athletics

Athletics needs fresh ideas - Meyer

2014-10-24 15:26
(Elana Meyer, file, Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Athletics events in South Africa are in need of an urgent shot in the arm if the country is to catch up with world standards, former long-distance runner Elana Meyer said on Friday.

"There are two aspects in particular that need the most urgent attention," she said.

"One is the hosting of well-organised track meetings that include TV coverage. And there is a need to restructure the South African road running fixture list.

"Events need to be graded accordingly and focus must be placed on prestige 5km, 10km and 21.1km events."

Meyer will be a panellist at next month's Global Athletics Conference in Durban.

She said she hoped the conference would lead to a robust engagement of issues that would improve the sport.

"It will be great if we could come up with a formalised event model that is financially viable and appeals to the current generation of athletes, spectators and sponsors."

Meyer, who won the hearts of South Africans when she claimed the silver medal at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 believed if an appropriate events model could be developed, there would be plenty of scope for new events on the athletics calendar.

"South Africa does not have any athletic events on the calendar at the moment that are prestigious and well supported.

"There is certainly room for more events of international standard."

She said higher profile events would lead to better performances and more South African athletes making it on to the global stage.

"SA Athletics needs a structure to facilitate the development of athletes through junior level to world class performance.

"Unfortunately the profile of the sport and the events in South Africa are too low and too few to keep the best athletes and coaches in the sport.

"There is certainly a need for greater discussion and analysis of the sport and the Global Athletics Conference is an important first step to addressing the challenges."

Read more on:    athletics
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