ASA in fundraising dilemma for World Relays

2014-04-20 15:00

South Africa’s hopes for representation at the inaugural IAAF World Relays next month rest on Athletics SA (ASA) raising the necessary funds to send relay teams to the Bahamas.

The event will take place in Nassau on the Caribbean island on May 24 and 25.

“ASA’s financial situation is very bad and we are looking for funding for the teams,” said Brandon du Plessis, the ad hoc committee member responsible for track and field events.

However, ASA interim chairperson Daan du Toit said a final decision would be taken at the committee’s meeting on Tuesday.

But all hope is not lost.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said the “bulk of the funding for qualified teams will be paid by [the World Relays’] local organising committee”.

Said IAAF spokesperson Chris Turner: “IAAF pays travel and hotel expenses [four nights] for two athletes per team entered for each discipline [men and women] by each national member federation. The top four teams finishing in each event discipline will have the travel and hotel expenses [four nights] paid for an additional two athletes.”

Just last month, ASA failed to raise about R200?000 to send a team of 24 athletes to the African Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda. This was something beyond the ASA’s latest interim structure?–?it inherited empty coffers when it took office at the recommendation of the IAAF in February.

This time around, the hopes of athletes like SA 100m record holder Simon Magakwe and other top-ranked track hopefuls remain in doubt.

South Africa’s placing in the world’s leading sprint times suggests that ASA can compile a competitive 4x100m relay team.

Magakwe ranks as the fastest man in the 100m sprint thanks to his SA record time of 9.98 seconds clocked at the SA Senior Track and Field Championships at the University of Pretoria’s Tuks Athletics Stadium last weekend.

Behind him in the latest IAAF top list are rising stars like Akani Simbine, Henrico Bruintjies, ­Gideon Trotter and Emile Erasmus who have all hit A-standard times. (See box below)

Running Men

SA’s world-class 100m sprinters

9.98: Simon Magakwe

Province: Athletics North West

Age: 27

Current IAAF ranking: 1

»?His record time of 9.98 seconds, which ­catapulted him to his sixth 100m SA Championships title, places Magakwe as the world’s fastest man in the short sprint.

10.02: Akani Simbine

Province: Athletics Gauteng North

Age: 20

Current IAAF ranking: 3

»?Simbine bettered his personal best after he finished as a runner-up to Magakwe at the SA Champs last Saturday, having started his season with a 10.13 at the Gauteng North provincial championships last month.

10.17: Henricho Bruintjies

Province: Athletics Gauteng North

Age: 20

Current IAAF ranking: Joint 12

»Bruintjies also set his personal best at the SA champs in the 100m semifinals last Friday.

10.23: Gideon Trotter

Province: Athletics Free State

Age: 22

Current IAAF ranking: Joint 21

»Trotter also clocked his mark in the semifinals last Friday.

10.23: Emile Erasmus

Province: Athletics Gauteng North

Age: 22

Current IAAF ranking: Joint 21

»His time claimed a bronze medal behind Simbine (silver) and Magakwe (gold) at the national championships last Saturday.

SABC uses one camera to film SA Track and Field Champs

The ghost of the Athletics SA (ASA) leadership squabbles that subsided in February returned to haunt at the SA Senior Track and Field Championships in ­Pretoria last weekend.

The squabbling had led to the ASA-SABC broadcast contract not being finalised. This resulted in the SA Junior and Senior Track and Field Championships being covered with a single camera, said the SABC.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said: “We did not cover the junior and senior track field events with multicameras. We have, however, covered these events with a single camera. These will be broadcast on Athletics Alive (a magazine show that covers athletics). We could not cover the events with multicameras because the contract is still not in place. We are in the process of finalising it.”

Ousted ASA president James Evans said: “We met the SABC in November and had to give them some information for their planning?–?then Sello Mokoena and his interim committee ­intervened.”

Mokoena said he “didn’t know what happened afterwards as what was ­required then was the renewal of the contract”.

»Athletics Alive is flighted on SABC2 on Sundays between 12.30pm and 1pm

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