Athletes urged not to lose hope over Olympics

ASA halts national activities on account of pandemic

Aleck Skhosana (president of ASA).
Aleck Skhosana (president of ASA).
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Athletics SA (ASA) has postponed all its national activities until the first week of February due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.  

ASA president Aleck Skhosana is pleading with the athletes to keep on training and not to lose hope. Skhosana said the national federation sympathised with the athletes, but had to put their safety first. Athletes expressed their concerns about the postponement of events during an Olympic year. Athletes who have not qualified for the Olympic Games set for Tokyo in July are worried about time. 

Prominent road runner Sibusiso Nzima was supposed to run the Seville Marathon in Spain next month, but the marathon got postponed and moved to November.

"We are appealing to the athletes to follow the Covid-19 lockdown regulations. We have decided to postpone all the national events until February. But we are urging them not to lose hope. We thought that we would start the year with a bang, but the second wave has put a stop to our proposed plans," Skhosana told Sowetan yesterday.

He said ASA would grant all the athletes the time and opportunity to qualify for the Games. "We urge them not to panic as we won't be quick to finalise the Olympics squad. There will still be an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics at small meetings abroad and locally.

"We are exploring all the options, and we will try and make the qualifying process smooth for all the athletes."

The senior track and field championships taking place in Tshwane in April will provide runners with the final opportunity to qualify for the Games.

"We do not know what the future holds, but we hope that the national champs will still take place," added Skhosana.

Nzima said he was hoping to secure a marathon abroad, but was worried about time.

"I am struggling to secure a race overseas, and I am worried about time. I would be gutted if I do not have the opportunity to qualify for the Olympics," he said. 

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