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All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa
The 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee has urged athletics to join hands with the rest of the country to ensure that the tournament is a roaring success.
This message was delivered by LOC chairman Irvin Khoza at a function held by Athletics South Africa in Sandton last weekend.
ASA organised the sendoff function for the athletes who will take part in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in August.
Most of the big name and up-and-coming athletes were over the moon to see Khoza, whom many described as one of the greatest sports leaders in the country.
The down-to-earth Khoza mingled with the athletes and administrators, including posing for photos with them.
"It was such a great moment for me to see Dr Khoza, one of the people who helped win the bid to host the 2010 World Cup," said Ruben Ramolefi, the 3000m national steeplechase champion from Kimberley.
"There are many of us who follow soccer despite being involved in athletics, including wanting to know the developments when we are out of the country."
Khoza said the World Cup was a multibillion rand event that will benefit South Africans, irrespective of whether they are involved in soccer or not.
He said athletics would also benefit from most of the the new and upgraded stadiums, which also have tracks.
"As soccer people, we say to you, the athletics community of South Africa, this is your World Cup as well.
"This is your opportunity as well, come and share with us."
Khoza also praised the re-elected ASA president Leonard Chuene and his new executive committee.
An elated Chuene said: "We value the support of Dr Khoza and the South African soccer leadership because we share a lot of things with them.
"Some of the facilities that we use have track facilities, like Johannesburg Stadium. It is good that they are being renovated in preparation for the 2010 World Cup.
"As athletics, not only in South Africa but throughout the continent, we fully support the LOC in all their efforts to host a successful World Cup."