Colombia - Athletics SA (ASA) president
Aleck Skhosana says South African track and field has to investigate the
possibility of starting the season later in the year.
"When it is the year of the World
Championships we have to do two things, one is to have it in June and we have
to choose a province where it is warm (during winter)," Skhosana said.
"The world championships are usually
held in July and August."
Skhosana said the early start and end to
the domestic season disadvantaged South African athletes when they had to
compete on the global stage.
Due to the early start South African
athletes peak early in the season but do not always perform to the best of
their abilities when it counts at the various World Championships.
The South African team went into last
week's IAAF World Youth Championships in Colombia with a number of athletes
ranked among the top five in the world.
Although the team produced the goods
winning five medals - two gold, two silver and a bronze - it could have been
even better had all the athletes been at peak form from earlier this season.
Most of the major country's came to
Colombia shortly after their own national championships.
The United States for instance had their
national youth championships a week before the global showpiece while South
Africa had theirs in April.
"We are excited, thanks to the
athletes and their coaches for their preparations," Skhosana said.
"The last time we had competition in
South Africa was in May and we were worried that many of the athletes would not
be competition fit but they have proved us wrong."
He said a support system needed to be
created to give South African athletes the best possible chance of succeeding.
"It is up to ASA, the parents and the
Olympic federation to ensure there is a support system," he said.
"We need to channel these athletes so
that they are not taken by other sports but that they remain focused and climb
the ladder from youth to junior and senior level."
Skhosana said South African athletics
needed to innovate to get ahead of the curb.
One way to aid the local athletes to ensure
they peaked later in the year was to host meetings later in the day when it was
warmer during the winter months.
"It's a matter of the time, don't
start your competition at 8am but at 10am and end it at 3pm when it is still 25
degrees," Skhosana said.
"I hear people saying we had a low
profile season which is a good thing because it has allowed our athletes to go
outside of the continent and compete in small competitions to advance to the
"We need to keep on adapting and
changing until we get the best results.
"We've been doing what we are doing
for a long time and the time has come to change for the benefit of the athletes."