Athletics SA not holding grudges against African nations that didn't back Caster Semenya in IAAF fight

Aleck Skhosana (President of Athletics South Africa ) chats to media during the press conference for the 2018 Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series at the President Hotel in Cape Town on 21 March 2018.
Aleck Skhosana (President of Athletics South Africa ) chats to media during the press conference for the 2018 Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series at the President Hotel in Cape Town on 21 March 2018.
Image: © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Athletics SA (ASA) president Aleck Skhosana has confirmed that they are going throw their weight behind the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) in their attempt to stop the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) plans to scrap the 5‚000m and 10‚ 000m events from the Diamond League next year.

The IAAF recently announced radical plans for the Diamond League‚ which include cutting meeting length to 90 minutes and scraping long races.

This plans is set to have a devastating impact on most of the continent's top long distance runners.

South Africa is not expected to be seriously affected as the nation does not have high-profile athletes in those events.

But Skhosana said they support CAA on principle even though the continental organisation did not publicly pledge their support for ASA during Caster Semenya’s case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CSA).

“It does not matter whether we are affected not‚ today is Kenya‚ tomorrow it will be Ethiopia and later it will be South Africa‚” he said on Tuesday where he announced Sizwe Medical Fund and 3SixtyLife as sponsors of the ASA senior track and field events and Twizza as sponsors for the U18 and U20 field and track championships.

“We want to send a stern warning to Africans that don’t only jump when it’s about you.

"When you take a fight you must take it on principle and on behalf of your brothers and sisters.

"We had the issue of Caster Semenya at CAS and the entire African continent‚ with the exception of Botswana‚ kept quiet.

"But as South Africa we are not going to keep quiet about this issue of IAAF scrapping 5‚000m and 10‚000m events from the Diamond League.”

Skhosana added that ASA cannot sit and watch the IAAF take possible opportunities away from Africans who excel in these long distance events.

“This is a matter that will take money‚ records from most athletes from countries like Kenya‚ Ethiopia‚ Eritrea‚ Uganda‚ Burundi and all of them‚" he said.

"These athletes make a lot of money from these events through winning and breaking records.

"So in principle we are saying in an unwavering voice that it is wrong to take out these events without consultation by IAAF.

"We are not saying that because Africa kept quiet about Caster‚ we are going to keep quiet about this issue.”

The decision on Semenya in her fight against IAAF is expected next week and Skhosana said they are waiting anxiously.

“We went there and presented the matter in front of a neutral and impartial panel and we are awaiting the decision that is going to come between the 21st and 26th‚" he said.

"We can’t say what will the outcome be.

"The people who will know are the CAS panel and please talk to them because they may give us news that will make us sleep easy.

"We did what we were supposed to do with all the experts from around the world that were assembled and we are waiting for that decision keenly as much as you are.”

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