ASA boss has run his course

2009-09-19 13:32

THERE is no culture in South Africa of leaders falling on their swords no matter how much they mess up. But the country seems united on Athletics South Africa (ASA) boss Leonard Chuene: he must go.

Chuene’s hamfisted treatment of the testing of athlete Caster Semenya must rank as one of the most egregious acts of mismanagement we have ­ever seen.

At stake are not just his manifest lies to the nation, but the way in which Semenya has been treated. She has gone to ground and is probably confused and devastated at what has happened to her. Responsibility must rest with Chuene who was entrusted with acting as the 18-year-old’s steward and sporting guardian.

Now we learn that Chuene knew she had been tested in Pretoria by the ASA but hid the results from the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Then, when the wheels came off in Berlin, he claimed the athlete had been duped into tests and began to play his pack of lies. First, it was all a third force that had spread rumours about Caster. Then it was the white media and, finally, a ­racist cabal back home.

There is no doubt that race has played no small part in ­Semenya’s trial by media and in her slapdash treatment by the world body. But the man with the power to protect her did not, and for that he must go.

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