Aleck Skhosana: One year later

CityPress - - Sport - DANIEL MOTHOWAGAE dmoth­owa­gae@city­press.co.za

To­day marks ex­actly 12 months and 14 days since the new Ath­let­ics SA (ASA) board was elected into of­fice.

Re­flect­ing on his time at the helm, pres­i­dent Aleck Skhosana said the main thing his board had achieved so far was sta­bil­ity in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of ath­let­ics.

How­ever, he ad­mit­ted that chal­lenges that re­mained in­cluded se­cur­ing spon­sor­ship and turn­ing around the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion – the ASA is still reel­ing from a bat­tered rep­u­ta­tion and a huge deficit.

“Ath­let­ics peo­ple have lis­tened to us be­cause there is no longer a chal­lenge of dis­grun­tled groups,” said Skhosana, whose elec­tion – thanks to the even­tual in­ter­ven­tion by the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions – ended a long-run­ning power strug­gle within the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Skhosana, ath­letes’ ever-im­prov­ing per­for­mances lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional stages have gone a long way to restor­ing cred­i­bil­ity to ASA. So far, Skhosana and his board have achieved the fol­low­ing: The re­turn of the South African track and field event as the top ranked on the con­ti­nent;

The re­turn of track and field events to TV;

The high num­ber of South African ath­letes com­pet­ing in the cur­rent sea­son of the Diamond League, and the high num­ber of na­tional record­break­ers;

Cre­at­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties for ath­letes to qual­ify for ma­jor in­ter­na­tional events at all lev­els. But what about the down­side? Skhosana said his board had ex­pected to be haunted by ghosts from the past, such as the R10 mil­lion law­suit against ASA by in­jured pole vaulter Jan Blig­naut, which put the fed­er­a­tion’s as­sets at risk of be­ing auc­tioned off in the past few weeks.

“We had to live up to ex­pec­ta­tions and make sure that we save ath­let­ics from be­ing swal­lowed by the events of the past. We came in at an awk­ward pe­riod. But ath­let­ics is in a bet­ter state than when we found it. Cor­po­rate com­pa­nies and even or­di­nary peo­ple didn’t be­lieve in ASA be­cause of all the neg­a­tive sto­ries from the past. There is good feed­back for next year in terms of ac­quir­ing spon­sor­ship,” he said.

ASA will hold its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing on Au­gust 1.

PHOTO: KHAYA NG­WENYA

AGAINST ALL ODDS ASA pres­i­dent Aleck Skhosana has weath­ered the storm since be­ing elected a year ago

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