ASA to send South African athletes to Moscow despite rift

By (Follow on Twitter @ athleticsafrica)

Athletics South Africa (ASA) insisted on Monday that the country’s athletes will head to the IAAF World championships in Moscow as planned, despite the suspension of the federation by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) on Sunday.

ASA’s President James Evans had been at logger head with the SASCOC for months after he suspended seven members of his own board unconstitutionally after he was impeached over alleged, and as yet unproven, financial irregularities.

“We will still be taking athletes to Russia, the decision of SASCOC has no impact on that at all,” Evans told Reuters on Monday.

“They have never funded us specifically, hopefully this just means they will now leave us alone.”

The ASA was suspended by the Olympic governing body on Sunday after its members ignored the sanctions placed on its board.

“The membership of ASA, as a national federation, under the regulation of SASCOC, is hereby suspended with immediate effect,” SASCOC President Gideon Sam said in a statement.

“At this juncture, SASCOC has decided that athletes of ASA will not be included in future Team SA squads for the Commonwealth Youth Games, Commonwealth Games, Anoca Youth Games, Zone VI Games, All Africa Games, Olympic Youth Games and the Olympic Games,” he said.

SASCOC also said all athletes registered with ASA would be removed from the SASCOC’s Operation Excellence (Opex) programme, which provides funding and support.

The tier-one athletes on the programme include former Olympic long jump silver medallist Khotso Mokoena, sprinting sensation Anaso Jobodwana and African women’s javelin throw record holder Sunette Viljoen.

(Additional information from SAPA)