Suffer the athletes

2013-06-30 14:00

Tubby Reddy, chief executive of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), will go down in history as either the saviour of Athletics SA (ASA), or the slayer of dreams.

As the head boy of sport in the nation, Reddy and his committee suspended ASA from Sascoc a week ago, resulting in hundreds of athletes being unable to compete in many international events.

Let us be clear. If the ASA administration is rotten, as it appears, the organisation should be purged and action should be instituted against the guilty parties.

But this process should happen off the track, far from our athletes’ careers, which are now being endangered by volatile boardroom wars.

Power struggles between ASA and Sascoc – with Reddy, Sascoc president Gideon Sam and ASA president James Evans and his deputy, Hendrick Ramaala, in the lead roles – can never be important enough to keep a young generation of talented athletes like Anaso Jobodwana, Caster Semenya, Sunette Viljoen and Akani Simbine off the track and field.

Surely, there was a better way Reddy and his team at Sascoc could have handled the cleansing of ASA without jeopardising the careers of our best.

If this house is not cleaned quickly, these stars will leave our shores and compete internationally for other nations, as has happened in the past.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s intervention in this mess should be welcomed.

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