Athletics

Soweto Marathon aborted

Soweto Marathon (File)
Soweto Marathon (File)

Johannesburg - The 2013 Soweto Marathon has been cancelled after efforts to save the race failed, the Gauteng department of sport said on Thursday.

"After two weeks of gruelling deliberations and fund-raising efforts by the newly formed interim committee, a difficult decision was reached to abort this year's Soweto Marathon," the department said in a statement.

The Soweto Marathon Trust, which was tasked with organising the race, announced in September that it had been forced to cancel the event because it could not secure funds from Athletics SA's (ASA) broadcast deal with the SABC.

However, ASA denied that the race had been cancelled and said it would try to ensure the iconic race was held on November 3.

Following conflicting reports, Gauteng sport MEC Lebogang Maile set up a committee consisting of the City of Johannesburg, Central Gauteng Athletics, the Gauteng Sport Council, and the Soweto Sport Council.

"It is heartbreaking to see the Soweto marathon, the only South African premier race that takes place in the township, facing such serious challenges," Maile said on Thursday.

"As the provincial government we want to immediately support the organisers in preparing for next year's marathon, so that they are able to present a world-class event at the time when the country is celebrating 20 years of our democracy."

The department said it would not be possible to prepare for a race of this magnitude in two weeks' time.

"The committee has been able to raise about 80 percent of the requisite budget, but there is a R1 million shortfall," the MEC said.

Maile said the team had worked around the clock to raise funds to rescue the event, but had to face facts regarding the hosting of the event.

Evans refused to comment.

He had accused Sapa of not contacting him for comment when the Soweto Marathon Trust announced the cancellation of the race.

"I do not speak to Sapa," Evans said before cutting short a call on Thursday.

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