The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) has stripped South Africa of the hosting rights for this year’s African Junior Championships.
The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) track and field meeting was supposed to get under way in Germiston, Johannesburg later this month from June 27 to 30.
The event was doomed from the outset after it was moved from Pretoria to Germiston, but pressure from the IAAF meant the event could not run owing to the uncertain athletics environment.
A projected R13 million budget also hampered any attempt to set the games’ logistics rolling.
“The IAAF sent a letter yesterday morning that the event cannot continue in our country given the current situation athletics is in,” said Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy at a hastily arranged press conference at Olympic House, Johannesburg yesterday
Athletics SA (ASA) administrator Zola Majavu said: “As at last week Wednesday, a written letter to the African body (CAA) said that until we receive the grant money that we had been promised five and a half weeks ago, it will be difficult to continue with the logistics.
“In terms of our budget, we estimated that we needed R13 million to pull this event through.
The grant set aside is $150 000, but had not been deposited into our account as we speak,” added Majavu, who was on the verge of stepping aside because of the cold war between Sascoc and the IAAF, which was fanned by impeached ASA president James Evans.
Majavu said he changed his mind after Sascoc reaffirmed their backing of him being in charge of ASA and he was grateful to the Olympic governing body “for the speedy manner in which they gave clarity on the matter of ASA and IAAF”.
He said the news came at a time when he was busy negotiating with a potential sponsor.
Reddy revealed that: “This event was agreed to by Evans when he was the then president, without following any of the protocol in this country.
“If you need to host an international event in this country you are supposed to apply to Sascoc as per the necessary documentation with the criteria and get approval to host such event.”
Nonetheless, it became known that he (Evans) accepted this event without the knowledge of his board and he agreed to continue with it.
Reddy said they were trying to rescue the three-day event “for the sake of the country”.
He said Sascoc was not concerned about the scrapping of the event “as we are concentrating on turning the organisation (ASA) around.”
Reddy also revealed that there was another continental event Evans had agreed to.
“He also agreed to a 100km event in Durban, but none of the authorities are aware of this event.”
Evans hit back at Sascoc.
“That’s a complete lie. The African Juniors have been taken away because of Sascoc interference in athletics. The board approved us hosting in January. CAA have now pulled out because Sascoc is defying the IAAF.”
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