A survivor who always comes out unscathed

ATHLETICS South Africa president Leonard Chuene is a great survivor, and yesterday's victory to remain at the helm of the federation did not come as a surprise.

ATHLETICS South Africa president Leonard Chuene is a great survivor, and yesterday's victory to remain at the helm of the federation did not come as a surprise.

This was after Chuene was endorsed by the ASA council - the federation's highest decision making body - to continue leading them.

The unanimous endorsement by the 17 provincial associations and nine associate members left many people with egg on their faces.

Before yesterday's meeting in Kempton Park Chuene's fate was hanging in the balance after confessing that he had lied about the Caster Semenya gender verification tests.

This was the second time in less than two weeks that the council had supported Chuene in the manner he had handled the Semenya tests.

Besides the council, the ASA board has also thrown its weight behind Chuene, whom they discouraged from resigning after his confession.

Yesterday's endorsement by the council comes a day after the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee announced that it would launch an investigation into the Semenya tests.

Chuene's endless battles with Sascoc are well documented, but the popular ultra-distance runner has always emerged unscratched.

While it was operating under the name Nocsa, Chuene was once suspended with Dan Moyo but lifted after the Department of Sport and Recreation intervened. Last year, Chuene was also suspended from Sascoc national executive committee after questioning their transformation programme.

Chuene, who enjoys support from the ANC, SACP and sports heavyweights, was subsequently reinstated after Parliament intervened.

The battle lines have been drawn for yet another war with Sascoc, who are probing how ASA handled the Semenya verification tests.

At the end of yesterday's council meeting, ASA resolved that it would participate and co-operate in any statutory commission of inquiry that may be instituted on this matter.

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