Controversial administrator loses battle with cancer

Family grieves after death of former ASA president Leonard Chuene

The late former Athletics SA president Leonard Chuene.
The late former Athletics SA president Leonard Chuene.
Image: Gallo Images

The family of former Athletics SA (ASA) president Leonard Chuene is struggling to come to terms with his death. Chuene (68) lost his battle with cancer on New Year's Day. 

 His son Titus Chuene said the family is pleading with the country to give them time and space to mourn his death. 

He said the departure of his father caught the family off guard. 

"It was sudden. The family is still hurting. We are still coming to terms with losing him. We loved our father and did not expect him to pass away. We are asking for space and privacy to mourn him," said Titus.

 He said the family would reveal the funeral details later in the week. The family also requested his close friends and colleagues not to talk to the media about their controversial father. 

The founding president of ASA led the federation from 1995 to 2011 when he lost his battle to stay in office against opposition from the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee. 

He was slapped with a ban for seven years. 

Chuene was criticised for how he handled Caster Semenya's gender saga.

He allegedly lied about Semenya's gender verification test ahead of the 2009 IAAF world championship in Berlin 2009.  

Chuene was one of the best sports administrators in Mzansi in his time, but the Semenya saga tainted his legacy. ASA president Aleck Skhosana hailed his contribution to the sport. "On behalf of the athletics family, we convey our deepest condolences to the Chuene family, friends, and colleagues in the sporting fraternity," said Skhosana.

"He was a great administrator who would not shy away from issues to pave the way for our athletes, and this is how we prefer to remember him. From his early days as president of ASA, he fought against the struggle to correct the wrongs created by apartheid that marginalised many talented athletes according to racial profiling.

"He had a robust way of engagement when dealing with issues he had a passion for, and because of that, Leonard Chuene will always be in our hearts." ​


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