Daily News

New boss wants TV time

- ASHFAK MOHAMED ashfak.mohamed@inl.co.za

GETTING local athletics events back on live television is new Athletics South Africa president James Moloi’s “number one priority”.

Long serving Central Gauteng Athletics boss Moloi beat incumbent Aleck Skhosana in the ASA elections in Johannesbu­rg on Saturday, ending the latter’s six-year tenure at the helm of the sport.

Moloi has been the CGA president since 2010, and had been an ASA board member responsibl­e for road running up to the elections.

It is understood that part of the reason for Skhosana’s defeat was his reluctance to allow athletics competitio­ns to resume during the Covid-19 pandemic, with athletes and coaches criticisin­g Athletics SA for not opening up the sport last year.

Long jump star Ruswahl Samaai tweeted last October: “How is it possible that our Athletics stadiums/ tracks is still closed when so many sporting codes in our country has resume with their training. Why is one of the most social distancing sports struggling to get access to training facilities?”

ASA only gave the green light from November 1, with top stars such as Wayde van Niekerk and Akani Simbine having had to go overseas for events.

But now that Moloi is in charge for the next four years, he wants the sport to be more visible in Mzansi.

“Coming back to TV rights, we want our races, all our races, to be televised. Even if two provinces can be televised. We want live TV coverage, because if we don’t do that, we are not going to get sponsors – people are wasting our time,” Moloi said during his acceptance speech.

“Imagine Akani (Simbine) ran today, and we only hear tomorrow that Akani had run – it’s too late. That one is a priority, my No 1 priority.”

Moloi also offered his assistance to provinces that have felt the financial pinch due to the lack of competitio­ns during the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in four provinces being unable to send teams to junior championsh­ips.

He will be placing the spotlight on developmen­t of athletes, adding that each province must have developmen­t officers in place, while he wants to engage with legends of the sport to become team managers and coaches.

Moloi also urged the new board to “unite” and sort out any difference­s.

“We must talk one language. Even if we have problems, let’s sit down and deal with the problem. Let’s discuss our problem in the boardroom, and outside the boardroom, we can be friends and all that.”

But apart from the TV broadcast issue, Moloi will have to ensure that his organisati­on can deliver a well prepared SA athletics team for the Tokyo Olympics.

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