Athletics SA rules out return to competition and most training

Only SA’s track and field stars who belong to universities look like they will be able to resume training‚ Athletics SA (ASA) have suggested in a statement.

Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana. Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The federation‚ pointing out its insurance didn’t cover Covid-19‚ added there would be no national events.

It didn’t even want athletes competing internationally‚ although it’s not clear if that would include the handful hoping to take part in Diamond League meets from August to October.

The ASA decision comes despite government’s thumbs up for even contact sports to return to competition under strict protocols‚ notably football.

Coaches and competitors from other top Olympic codes have been anxiously waiting to get back into proper training.

“Even though athletics has been classified as a non-contact sport‚ it has unavoidable dynamics that may not be controlled during the action of competition and therefore making transmission a dangerous reality‚” ASA president Aleck Skhosana said in the statement.

ASA said it had compared the protocol models of World Athletics and other bodies and countries and decided “none of them addresses the current dire scenario faced by South Africa and athletics”.

“We cannot create a protocol that can save a life of an athlete‚ coach or any role-player…

“ASA has resolved not to host any national activities or participate at international events until ASA deems it safe to do so or until it is expertly advised by the Department of Sport and World Athletics that it is medically safe to host events at national and international stage.

The ASA decision comes despite government’s thumbs up for even contact sports to return to competition under strict protocols‚ notably football.

“And once expertly advised by the Department of Sport‚ ASA will then take the responsibility to assess and decide on the appropriate way forward.”

ASA also said its athletes’ insurance did not cover Covid-19.

“In the wake of this reality‚ ASA advises and encourages permitted athletes‚ coaches and support teams to only use private facilities because they have cover‚” the sports body said‚ without explaining who qualified as permitted athletes.

“Athletes based at or using tertiary facilities and private facilities that have applied and been granted such permissions to host such training are normally covered by insurance of those institutions.”

ASA pointed out many athletes came from impoverished communities and were far from medical centres. “They too must be equally protected from infections and from possible death…

“ASA has chosen to be [extraordinarily] 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.”

By: David Isaacson – TimesLIVE

Source: ARENA Holdings.


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