Athletics

Former Athletics SA president Leonard Chuene dies

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Leonard Chuene (Gallo)
Leonard Chuene (Gallo)

Former Athletics South Africa (ASA) president Leonard Chuene has died, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has confirmed. 

He was 68 years old. 

In a statement released on Saturday, the CMA said it was saddened by the "tragic passing of Comrades Marathon Honorary Member, Green Number runner and former Athletics South Africa President, Leonard Chuene."

Chuene completed 12 Comrades Marathons between 1987 and 2000, earning 11 bronze medals and one Silver medal.

He achieved his Best Time of 07:19:25 in the 1991 Comrades Marathon Down Run at the age of 38. 

Chuene ran for the Diepkloof Athletic Club, of which he was also a long-standing chairperson; as well as being a member of Central Gauteng Blind Sports in his later years. 

He has also been credited with founding the Soweto Marathon, along with athletics administrator, Banele Sindani and development officer, Boycie Ntlwane. 

Chuene was honoured with CMA Honorary Life Membership at the 2002 Spirit of Comrades Awards Gala, alongside long-serving volunteer, Theo Millar who was awarded Life Membership and current CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn, awarded Life Membership with Honours.

Winn has extended her heartfelt condolences on behalf of the CMA Board to the Chuene family, friends and running community.

"We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of a true Comrade, Leonard Chuene," she said in a statement.

"His passion for the Comrades Marathon and running in general will be remembered by many, as well as his contribution to athletics during his lengthy tenure at our athletics federation, ASA. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this sad time."

Chuene was a key figure in Caster Semenya's early years on the international stage and his handling of the gender case that followed Semenya is ultimately what cost him his job in South African athletics. 

- CMA media

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