Despite efforts by Athletics SA (ASA) to obtain an exemption, the 27-member team representing South Africa at next month’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow will be missing Caster Semenya.
“I understand and accept the IAAF’s viewpoint. If they should make an exception for Caster, where do they draw the line?” ASA president James Evans said today.
Evans had contacted the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to find out whether there was any possibility Semenya could still compete after the Olympic 800m silver medallist missed the qualifying standard by 0.36 seconds.
While being sympathetic to his request, the IAAF had to stick to the rules of the competition, Evans said.
ASA was also forced to apologise to women’s marathon champion Cornelia Joubert after an administrative blunder prevented her from travelling with the team to Moscow.
Running a qualification time of two hours 39 minutes at the Orange Marathon in Mauritius in June, Joubert’s name was added to the team. However, it was recently discovered the Mauritius event was not recognised as a qualification event by the IAAF.
According to Evans, the mistake was made by an ASA official who did not first ascertain which of the marathons were valid for qualification before submitting names for team selection.
“This should never have happened. Athletics should always be about what is best for the athlete,” said Evans.
“It is totally unacceptable that an athlete should find out at such short notice that she will not be able to compete at a World Championship because somebody did not do his job properly.
“As president of ASA, I can only sincerely apologise to Cornelia.”
Evans said he would find a way of compensating Joubert for such a huge disappointment.
“I have spoken to her coach and we will do our best to make up for our error. It must never, ever, happen again.”
After Irvette van Zyl’s withdrawal last week, with an aggravated knee injury, and the absence of Joubert, the women’s marathon team was reduced to one athlete – Tanith Maxwell.
Lehann Fourie, SA 110m hurdles record holder and Olympic finalist, was the other name missing from the original 30-member team after he tore his ankle ligaments last week.
The 27-member track and field team for the Moscow world championships, which runs from August 10 – August 18:
A Qualifiers: Anaso Jobodwana (100m/200m), Wade Van Niekerk (400m), Cornel Fredericks (400mh), PC Beneke (400mh), LJ van Zyl (400mh), Andre Olivier (800m), Johan Cronje (1500m), Willem Coertzen (decathlon), Zarck Visser (long jump), Khotso Mokoena (long Jump), Chris Harmse (hammer throw), Victor Hogan (discus throw), Sunette Viljoen (javelin throw), Lynique Prinsloo (long Jump).
B Qualifiers: Robert Oosthuizen (javelin throw), Elroy Gelant (5000m), Justine Palframan (200m), Akani Simbine (100m), Steven Mokoka (10 000m), Annari Ebersohn (400mh), Orazio Cremona (shot put).
Marathon – men: Lusapho April, Sibusiso Mzima, Hendrick Ramaala.
Marathon – women: Tanith Maxwell.
Walking: Marc Mundell (50km), Lebogang Shange (20km).
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