Farewell to a ‘walking athletics encyclopaedia’
He said: “A panel has already been formed and it’s just that we are busy with team selections for next year. The CEO job needs people with the know-how, and I am told the response was mainly people with quite an impressive background in sports administration. I can’t be an expert on everything; we need someone for the day-today running of the office.”
Though Skhosana did not give a timeline on when his office would shift its focus in appointing a CEO, time is not on its side, as he and his board have only until after next year’s Olympic Games to conclude their term in office.
Skhosana and his board were elected to serve the remainder of the tenure left halfway by ousted president James Evans in the aftermath of the leadership squabbles that led to intervention by the International Association of Athletics Federations in June last year. Banele Sindani was one of the first track and field athletes to contact me in 1991 after my return from exile.
He and Thulani Sibisi (the 1986 Two Oceans Marathon champion) regularly briefed me on developments in athletics in the country.
The racial situation in athletics was then highly irregular, with white domination prevalent in all sectors.
In the early stages of creating unity in our country’s athletics, Banele participated in assembling a team for South African athletics’ first outing, when a home-grown team competed in an international event sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Born in 1955, Sindani became the first CEO of the reformed South African athletics body, later to be named Athletics SA (ASA).
He was the athletics manager of the South African Olympic team that participated in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta in the US.
Two members of the athletics division, Josia Thugwane and Hezekiel Sepeng, added a gold and silver, respectively, to South Africa’s overall total of five medals, with contributions from swimmers Penny Heyns (two gold) and Marianne Kriel (one bronze).
In 2005, Banele became CEO of the reformulated SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc). He later resigned and returned to athletics, becoming the CEO of the ASA.
Sindani was largely instrumental in establishing the people’s race – the Soweto Marathon. He was greatly admired for his passion and commitment to athletics, both in South Africa and abroad.
Prior to the arrival of Sepeng in South African middle-distance running, there was a concern that the country’s athletes were shying away from the 800m and 1 500m events because of mass team intimidation from Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes in international competitions.
Banele helped to reestablish South African interest in these events.
Thanks to this, we saw some formidable international performances from our athletes in these events in the years that followed.
Admiration for Banele increased tremendously due to his amazing statistical knowledge of South African and international athletics.
He could recall world records and international rankings without blinking an eyelid. He was a walking encyclopaedia of athletics.
There is no doubt that our sport will find itself in a vacuum after his tragic death, when he was shot by robbers who invaded his house in the early hours of Tuesday
Sindani was largely instrumental in establishing the people’s race – the Soweto Marathon. He was greatly admired for his passion and commitment to athletics...
morning. Rest in peace, Banele!
Ramsamy is a member of the International Olympic Committee and sat on its commission evaluating the
bids for the 2012 Olympic Games
UNTIMELY Banele Sindani was looking to take the reins at the ASA again, but he was killed by burglars in a shooting at his home
FITTING TRIBUTE Iconic sports administrator Sam Ramsamy