We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

'Athletics SA's tough selection standards are killing the sport'

Former Athletics South Africa president James Evans. File photo
Former Athletics South Africa president James Evans. File photo
Image: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

Athletics SA’s notorious tough selection criteria will kill the sport in five years‚ the inquiry into SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) governance issues heard on Monday.

Former ASA president James Evans had claimed Sascoc had interfered in ASA from 2009 until 2014 when he was voted out for the current regime.

Asked by Dr Ali Bacher‚ one of three members of of the ministerial committee‚ why South Africa’s athletes were doing well‚ Evans replied:

“Those athletes were always around … this is the issue with current team selection‚ they only select people who’s going to win medals.

“But none of the athletes coming through — my concern at the moment is that in five years time we’re not going to have any athletes of this calibre left.”

Evans was making a clear reference to ASA’s stringent policy that saw 14 athletes who achieved the international qualifying standards for the 2017 world championships being left at home because they didn’t make ASA’s even tougher criteria.

Evans pointed out that Wayde van Niekerk‚ one of SA’s stars last year‚ had been selected for the 2013 world championships in Moscow simply as a future prospect‚ not as a medal contender.

“Wayde got knocked out in the first round in Moscow.

“He won the world championships after that‚ he’s now the world record holder.”

Van Niekerk won 400m gold at his next world championships‚ in Beijing in 2015‚ and broke the world record at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Sprinter Akani Simbine‚ who finished fifth at both the Rio Games and the 2017 world championships‚ was also a first-round loser at the 2013 world championships.

“We’ve got damn good athletes in this country‚ we’ve got damn good coaches and to a large extent the national federation is too weak to interfere directly with them‚” said Evans.

“I think that’s changing‚ I think they’re starting to interfere too directly. But the athletes were allowed to get on and do their own thing and because of that they’re doing well.

“I’m not saying we did anything right‚ all we did is we allowed people opportunities.

"I think they also performed in our day despite us rather than because of us and I think that’s been the message for a long‚ long time.”

Speaking to journalists after his testimony‚ Evans said ASA’s criteria had been “set by a madman”.

Apart from the stars‚ the fields at local athletics competitions were getting weaker and weaker.

“Where’s the second tier? They [ASA] don’t care‚ they’ve got Wayde.”

Anaso Jobodwana‚ Clarence Munyai‚ Henricho Bruintjies‚ Emile Erasmus (all men’s 4x100m relay‚ Stephen Mokoka (10‚000m)‚ Jaco Engelbrecht (shot put)‚ Tshepang Makhete (hammer throw)

Naveen Daries (artistic)‚ Grace Legote and Chris-Marie van Wyk (both rhythmic)

Rugby Sevens (men):
Tim Agaba‚ Philip Snyman‚ Dylan Sage‚ Kwagga Smith‚ Werner Kok‚ Kyle Brown‚ Branco du Preez‚ Rosko Specman‚ Justin Geduld‚ Cecil Afrika‚ Seabelo Senatla‚ Adriaan Nel‚ Siviwe Soyizwapi (travelling reserve). 

Team manager: Nonkululeko Mngadi

Head coach: Graham Hill

Coaches: Andrea di Nino‚ Rocco Meiring‚ Cedric Finch

Manager/coach (para-swimming): Theo Vorster; Coach (diving)‚ William Sherritt

Team manager: Peter Lourens

Coach (throws): Terseus Liebenberg‚ Coach (jumps); Reneilwe Aphane‚ Coach (middle distance); Samuel Sepeng

Coach (sprints/hurdles): Seef le Roux

Coach/manager: Stewart Carson

Coach: Mladeli Mngqhibisa

Coach/manager: Johannes Britz

Manager/coach: Elrick Kulsen

Coach (road): Bosseau Boshoff

Coach (track): Annerine Wenhold

Coach (MTB): Erica Groenewald

Mechanic (Road/MTB): Jean-Pierre Jacobs

Mechanic (track): Pieter Jansen

Manager/coach (artistic): Ilse Laing‚ coach (rhythmic); Tatiana Lavrentchouk-Vizer

Hockey (men)
Head coach: Mark Hopkins

Assistant coach: Cheslyn Gie

Video analyst: Nkuliso Zondi

Team manager: Marthinus van Staden

Hockey (women)
Head coach: Sheldon Rostron

Assistant coach: Kurt Cerfontyne

Video analyst: Wayne Hendricks

Team manager: Maryke Eloff

Lawn bowls
Manager/coach: Jessica Henderson

Directors (para): Annatjie van Rooyen‚ Graham Ward

Coach (men): Martinus Fraser

Coach (para-lawn bowls): Geoffrey Newcombe

Team manager: Nisha Rupnarain

Coaches: Norma Plummer‚ Nicole Cusack

Video analyst: Christy Mullender

Coaching intern (CGF): Dumisani Chauke

Rugby Sevens (men)
Coach: Neil Powell

Assistant coach: Renred Dazel

Team manager: Ashley Evert

Rugby Sevens (women)
Coach: Paul Delport

Team manager: Michelle English

Conditioning coach: John Meintjies

Coach/manager: Bernard de Beer

Coach: Lindsey Parry

Team manager: Kate Roberts

Coach/manager: Stephen Cupido

Coach/Manager: Nico Coetzee

Coaching intern (CFG): Mpho Madi

Coach: Andrew Ludik

Para-table tennis
Coach/manager: Anver Lyners

Medical team
Chief medical doctor: Paul Maphoto

Doctors: Thulani Ngwenya‚ Tshegofatso Gaetsewe‚ Carolette Cloete‚ Crosby Mulungwa; Chief physiotherapist: Bafana Sihlali

Physiotherapists: Rannoa (Dan) Ntseke‚ Sergant Motha‚ Hugh Everson‚ Khuliso Netshivhangani‚ Corrine Sheppard‚ Danielle Munezero‚ Tarina van der Stockt‚ Ugendrie Govender‚ Narayani Pillay

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.