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Veteran athletics administrator Le Roux passes away

An integral part of South African athletics is no more with the news of veteran administrator Gert le Roux’s passing, writes Mark Etheridge.

Le Roux, 78, was one of local track and field’s bedrocks, having been involved in the sport at all levels. He died of heart and lung problems, three months after the death of his wife Theo. The two had been married for 54 years and lived in Bela-Bela in recent years.

Statistics was one of his great loves and long before the digital era, it was largely due his painstaking research that athletics lovers were able to keep track of times and distances from around the globe.

From 1971 he served a period of 21 years as secretary of the now defunct South African Amateur Athletics Union (SAAAU) and was involved with that organisation’s annual handbook for more than 50 years.

At the time of sports unity in 1992 he was still serving as secretary and retired two years later due to health issues. He continued to devote his life to athletics though and much of the international news of our athletes progress was due to his painstaking research.

Born in the Free State, Le Roux started his career as a journalist for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and also worked for Afrikaans newspapers, Die Transvaler, Vaderland and Dagbreek. He was made a member of the South African Breweries (SAB) Hall of Fame in 1998.

In later years he was a freelance worker for the South African Press Association.

He was also very keen on rugby and played flyhalf and centre for Shimlas (Free State University) and Gauteng club Diggers. He later toured France with the Springboks as a reporter in 1967.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) acknowledged Le Roux’s contribution to global athletics. “The IAAF is very saddened to learn of the death of Gert le Roux, from South Africa, who died at the age of 78.

“Le Roux was a hugely respected and much loved administrator, writer and statistician; and a contributor for a number of years to the IAAF website,” read the statement. Le Roux was involved for 50 consecutive years in the publication of the SA Athletics Annual, as well as the publication of the SA Athletics Statisticians (SAAS), of which he was the editor for many years.”

Le Roux is survived by two sons, Gerrie and Otto and three grandchildren. He will be laid to rest in Faerie Glen, Pretoria on Friday.