Sponsors back on board

YELLOW Pages are back on board as track and field sponsors of Athletics South Africa (ASA) to the tune of R6,5million, Sowetan has learnt.

YELLOW Pages are back on board as track and field sponsors of Athletics South Africa (ASA) to the tune of R6,5million, Sowetan has learnt.

This should be good news for athletes and athletics fans who were worried that the series have been discontinued after the telephone business directory company announced their withdrawal in the wake of the Caster Semenya debacle.

This also resulted in the suspension of the ASA board. The series, which has attracted top local athletes such as long jumper Khotso Mokoena and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, marks the start of the athletics programme in South Africa.

The company was also joined by Nedbank, who used to bankroll the road running activities of ASA. Sowetan has learnt from impeccable sources that the deal has been signed and sealed between ASA and the directory company.

"Yes, Yellow Pages are on board. We will definitely have a track and field season programme in 2010," said Ray Mali, ASA's interim leader.

Mali refused to divulge figures. The details will be announced in due course.

"There is a calender for 2010 in place, athletes must check with their provinces if they want it. We have 17 provinces throughout the country. There won't be any change in the programmes of the past, there will be competitions throughout the year.

"We need a big programme because we have the Commonwealth Games in India next year, so that will be one of the platforms for athletes to qualify," Mali said.

It also emerged that negotiations between ASA and Nedbank for the road running sponsorship are at an advanced stage.

Nedbank look set to sponsor ASA to the tune of R13million a year. Furthermore, Sowetan has learnt that the National Lottery Board will also be announcing a massive sponsorship for ASA in the new year.

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