SA athlelics legends speak out

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

SOUTH African athletics legends are disappointed about the shenanigans taking place at Athletics SA. They are adamant that boardroom politics have contributed to South Africa winning only one medal at the IAAF world championships in Russia, which ended at the weekend.

A dark horse in a team which included big names Khotso Mokoena, Sunette Viljoen and Stephen Mokoka, Johan Cronje was the sole medallist after grabbing bronze in the 1500m on Sunday.

Legendary Athletes of South Africa president Xolile Yawa said boardroom politics were affecting the sport negatively – as was evident in Russia.

“We won’t win gold medals at competitions like the world championships, Commonwealth Games and Olympics if administrators do not sing from the same hymn book. We (legends) are making a commitment [to] meet the authorities to try and get to the bottom of the problem. We will also meet the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee to formally introduce ourselves.

“As legends, some of us are willing to assist to get athletics back on track,” said Yawa, whose structure represents former athletes, administrators, referees and technical officials.

“[Ours is] an all-inclusive structure, our objective is to get the golden oldies who are still passionate about the sport to come back and assist in development in various capacities … These are some of the things we will deal with at our conference in Bloemfontein on August 30 and August 31.”

Yawa, one of the greatest South African athletes in the 1980s and 1990s, said they fully supported Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s plan to revive school sports. “Some of our legends are not working. We are trying to create opportunities for them to get involved in their communities by adopting nearby schools,” he said.

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