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Athletes take a stand

Athletics South Africa has come under further attack — this time from athletes and clubs themselves.

This after embattled ASA president Leonard Chuene escaped censure over his handling of the Caster Semenya affair, and last week stayed in charge after a meeting in Kempton Park.

The Sport24 website reports that top current and former athletes are meeting about the matter in Pretoria on Saturday and no ASA officials will be allowed at the meeting.

A Johannesburg athletics club is also planning a motion of no-confidence against Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) as the union’s representatives did not have a mandate from the clubs to support Chuene. CGA is the biggest athletics province in the country.

Former Commonwealth Games silver medallist Geraldine Pillay is one of the organisers of the meeting. She took the gloves off on Tuesday and called on athletes that have represented South Africa since 1994 to attend the meeting.

She said the athletes would issue a statement after the meeting. It will be sent to ASA, Government and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

ÔÇ£If the athletes tell us they are happy with how Chuene and the management of ASA handled the issue, that is what we will write in the statement,ÔÇØ said Pillay. Another athlete, who preferred to remain anonymous, noted that everyone except Semenya herself had had something to say about the issue.

Pillay did not hold back on ASA. ÔÇ£Athletics is about athletes. Athletes are supposed to be ASA’s biggest asset, but they are not,ÔÇØ she said. She first realised as an athlete and later as a TV commentator that ÔÇ£for most of ASA’s management everything is just about the partyÔÇØ.

ÔÇ£They hang out all day in the VIP tent, where nothing but eating and drinking is done. A world record can be set, but they will only learn about it later on TV news,ÔÇØ said Pillay.

ÔÇ£I struggle to believe Chuene that he had Semenya’s interests at heart.ÔÇØ