Athletes welcome cancellation of athletics calendar

Athletes Rushwahl Samaai and Stephen Mokoka have welcomed the decision by Athletics SA (ASA) who have opted against a return to competition despite government approving the return of non-contact sports.

ASA president Aleck Skhosana confirmed on Saturday that the organisation will not risk the safety of the athletes by returning to competition.

ASA has since written to sports minister Nathi Mthethwa informing him of their intention to prioritise lives.

"ASA has chosen to be extra cautious because one infection or one death would be one too many for our sport, especially when we knew that this is an avoidable situation," Skhosana said in a statement.

ASA activities continue to be either postponed or cancelled.

Long jumper Samaai said he was happy with the decision taken by ASA to save lives.

"Regarding no competition and the cancellation of the calendar, I'm perfectly fine with it because we are not in a state where we can compete," Samaai told Sowetan yesterday.

"Our numbers in terms of Covid-19 are rising way higher than we expected. So, there is no way that they can resume the calendar for 2020. We are not able to compete internationally as a country or even locally, that's a good decision."

The 28-year-old Commonwealth Games bronze medalist added that it has also been difficult for track and field athletes to train as stadiums remained locked.

"At this moment, it is very difficult to train on a gravel road or grass road. So, we don't have facilities in terms of training."

Long distance runner Mokoka sounded disappointed by the decision, but said that he will welcome it as it will save lives.

"If it is a matter of our safety what can I say? You have to comply anyway like we are complying with these Covid-19 rules and regulations," Mokoka said.

"I've got no powers on anything, you just have to accept and leave with it. They [ASA] are the mother body, I won't have anything to say because there is nothing I can do.

"If they decide that there is nothing that's going to happen this year, that means nothing will happen..."

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