With Diamond League athletics re-scheduled to begin in mid-August, there remains uncertainty in terms of what South African athletes, if any, will be taking part.
As we approach the end of June it appears that only the country’s track and field stars who belong to universities look as if they will be able to resume training‚ Athletics SA (ASA) suggested in a statement.
The federation‚ pointing out its insurance did not cover Covid-19‚ added there would be no national events. It did not want athletes competing internationally‚ though it is not clear if that would include the handful hoping to take part in Diamond League meets from August to October.
‘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‚’ Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana said.
Athletics SA said it had compared the protocol models of World Athletics and other bodies and countries and decided ‘none of them address the current dire scenario faced by SA and athletics’.
‘We cannot create a protocol that can save a life of an athlete‚ coach or any role-player.
‘Athletics SA has resolved not to host any national activities or participate at international events until Athletics SA 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.
‘And once expertly advised by the department of sport‚ ASA will then take the responsibility to assess and decide on the appropriate way forward.’
Athletics SA also said its athletes’ insurance did not cover Covid-19.
‘In the wake of this reality‚ Athletics SA advises and encourages permitted athletes‚ coaches and support teams to only use private facilities because they have cover‚’ the sports body said. ‘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.’