THE South African men’s and women’s teams are officially out of the 2016 Olympics‚ the SA Hockey Association (Saha) said in a statement on Friday.
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) had insisted that the teams qualify for the Rio Games by achieving the international qualifying standards‚ which involved making the top six in the World Hockey League.
Both teams failed‚ but they did earn a secondary qualification by winning the African championships in Johannesburg last month.
Sascoc‚ however‚ refuses to accept continental qualification for any codes‚ with the sole exception of football‚ which has no international option.
“The South African Hockey Association has with regret received the news that the South African hockey national teams will not be permitted to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as per the letter received from Sascoc today‚” Saha said.
Sascoc had initally wanted to impose stricter conditions on both soccer and the men’s road cycling teams‚ but backed down after being persuaded by the two federations.
Both had refused to sign sanctioning agreements with Sascoc until the matter had been sorted.
Saha‚ however‚ signed.
“In all discussions SA Hockey continuously presented the argument that the criteria proposed was unachievable due to a number of factors‚ and that the criteria in fact would be an automatic exclusion of the two national hockey teams should the criteria remain.
“The final set criteria presented for signatory remained unchanged in spite of the contestations made by SA Hockey and remained non-negotiable. SA Hockey signed this agreement as a ‘fait accompli’.
“It remains our view that whether we signed the agreement or not the terms remained in force as the National Olympic Committee of every country has the final say when entering athletes for the Olympic Games.”