Sascoc name downsized team for African Games
Funding cuts have resulted in a drastically downsized SA team for the African Games in Rabat from August 16-31.
The squad of 153 athletes and officials that was named by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) is missing the nation’s top-performing stars.
There’s no Chad Le Clos or Luvo Manyonga — two of the Olympic medallists from the 2016 Rio Games — nor Commonwealth Games champions‚ sprinter Akani Simbine and breaststroke queen Tatjana Schoenmaker.
Banyana Banyana and the men’s under-23 football team are also not on the roster.
Inclusion was offered only to codes where Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020 was at stake.
The side does boast Sunette Viljoen‚ the Olympic javelin silver medallist from 2016 who is still looking to find her form‚ and 2012 Olympic kayaking bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley.
“Previously we have sent a big team of almost 300 athletes‚ but as highlighted before‚ this year it will be impossible to send a team of 300 people due to financial constraints‚” Sascoc president Gideon Sam said in a statement.
“However‚ though the team is lean‚ it is a strong team of experienced athletes and we mostly included the athletes who will use these games as a qualifier for Olympic Games.”
The likes of Le Clos‚ Manyonga‚ Simbine and Schoenmaker have already achieved qualifying times for Tokyo 2020.
In total SA will compete in only 11 of the 26 codes that will be on offer in Morocco‚ and they will have a tough time staying in the top three on the medals table‚ where they have camped since returning from isolation in the 1990s.
The cycling team has yet to be announced.
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