Bolt won’t be at our indaba

2011-11-19 16:56

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s dream of having celebrated Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt as a guest of honour at the National Sport and Recreation indaba which starts tomorrow is not going to come true.

American 100m record holder Tyson Gay was also invited to the indaba but the sprinter also could not make it.

Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe will open the event at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg.

Bolt, who was crowned IAAF’s Athlete of the Year last weekend, will “not be available” at the ­­two-day indaba.

“We did receive correspondence requesting Mr Bolt’s presence in South Africa, however we have indicated that he is not available.

“We hope you are able to clear that up with the relevant authorities,” Bolt’s publicist Carole Beckford wrote to the ministry on Friday.

City Press understood that Bolt’s request for an appearance fee in the region of R1?million was probably part of the reason his trip was curtailed.

But neither the ministry nor Bolt’s publicist would be drawn on this.

Mbalula’s spokesperson, Paena Galane, said prominent former and current athletes from various sporting codes were invited.

He said the list included Mozambican legendary mid-distance runner Maria Mutola and retired Springbok lock Victor Matfield.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam said the alignment of funding and sporting priorities were two of the topics that would be tabled by his organisation at the indaba.

“We are also going to look at all the sporting codes to determine which ones are priority sports. This could have an influence as to who should get the bigger chunk of Lotto funding.”

Sam was recently elected as second vice-president of the Commonwealth Games.

He said his appointment would not influence South Africa’s bid to host future Games.

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