ASA on track with windfall

Athletics South Africa (ASA) this week received a much needed shot in the arm in the form of a multi million sponsorship from sports apparel company Adidas.

This effectively ended ASA's days of begging for almost everything in their quest to help athletes win more medals.

The overdue acquisition comes hardly a year after the athletics governing body pocketed R180 million for five years for road running from Nedbank.

Though the two parties refused to divulge figures involved at the launch, it is believed the three-year deal with Adidas is worth R1 million per season.

It comes as a huge relief for ASA president Leonard Chuene and company, who have coined a popular phrase that maybe "we are children of a lesser important god".

ASA have in the past had to raise funds in order to buy clothing for athletes when they were selected to represent South Africa. The sponsorship will cover competitions and leisure wear for the country's junior and national teams at regional, continental and global competitions.

Unlike many other sporting codes, athletics were supposed to be getting all the necessary financial support from corporate South Africa, but this has not been the case.

It is common knowledge that athletics is the flagship of South African sports since the country was readmitted by the international community in 1992.

It is only in athletics where the country is always guaranteed a minimum of one medal at the Olympics and other global competitions.

Athletics' financial woes started when black administrators started taking control of the sport, with one company after the other gradually withdrawing their support.

For some time now, ASA has been relying on donations from the National Lottery Board when teams are sent out of the country for competitions.

Despite lack of proper financial support, ASA has succeeded in sustaining their talent identification programme with more quality runners coming through the ranks. With more support by the corporate sector, it goes without saying that ASA will be able to produce more world beaters.