Athletes up in arms over non-payment

YOUNG and senior athletes alike are fed up with Athletics SA over unpaid prize money, which is believed to be in the region of R3million.

YOUNG and senior athletes alike are fed up with Athletics SA over unpaid prize money, which is believed to be in the region of R3million.

One of the top athletes, whose name is known to Sowetan, is believed to be seeking legal opinion with a view to suing the federation. Some of the top athletes are threatening to boycott major international competitions, including the Commonwealth Games, if they are not paid in full.

They are waiting for feedback from SA Sport and Olympic Confederation president Gideon Sam. They met Sam two weeks ago. Sam asked the athletes, who included Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Khotso Mokoena and Hendrick Ramaala, to give him a week to first consult the Ministry of Sport and recreation.

A spokesperson for the athletes, Sam Mlangeni, said yesterday: "There are many athletes who have not been paid a cent since the start of the 2010 track and field season. This includes the Yellow Pages Series where we were informed that there would be massive incentives. Athletes have been sent from pillar to post when they ask about their money. They are told the delay is a result of the investigation into the Leonard Chuene administration.

"Athletes are starving and we cannot just sit and fold our arms as if nothing is happening. Athletes must unite and deal with the ASA interim structure. It is clear the plan was just to remove Chuene from ASA and that is why there is no way forward. The sport is dying and I find it strange that everybody is keeping quiet. ASA are trying to use divide and rule and this will not work. We are going to expose this."

But ASA assistant administrator Richard Stander said: "We are paying all the athletes we owe and this goes back as far as February last year. Those who competed in the Soweto Marathon have not been paid. It's part of the problem we inherited from the previous administration. Lotto has made a commitment to assist us with funding." Lotto is expected to give ASA R17million.

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