Marathon runner Hendrick Ramaala is looking forward to his new role as assistant administrator of Athletics South Africa (ASA) and expects a challenge, he said on Monday.
Ramaala replaces controversial Boland Athletics chief Richard Stander, who walked out on the embattled federation last week.
He will begin his new role at the ASA head office in Houghton on Tuesday.
“This is an ideal opportunity and I can't run from a challenge,” Ramaala said.
“I've been complaining from the sidelines, but now I have a chance to make a difference.
“At some point you have to stop blaming other people. Either do something about it or stop complaining.”
Earlier this year, Ramaala, 38, resigned from the ASA interim board put in place by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) last year after it suspended the entire ASA executive.
Other resignations from this interim board were those of Western Province Athletics head James Evans and former sprinter Geraldine Pillay.
Evans had been vocal against Stander and Sascoc's control of ASA. Pillay had disagreed with team selection.
All three of them have since been voted on to the new board.
Ramaala, who is still an active road runner, will compete in the New York marathon – a race he won in 2004 – for the ninth time next month.
The University of the Witwatersrand law graduate expected his new administrative role to have little effect on his athletics career.
“It won't affect my training. I'll have office hours during the day, but I can train in the morning before I go in.
“It might affect my rest, but I've been around for long enough to be able to manage my rest periods.”
Evans, who is now the ASA track and field chairman, expected Ramaala, who is now the ASA road running chairman, to flourish in the role.
“I think it's a good decision,” Evans said. “He's got the qualifications to tackle something like this, he's got the interest, and he's got the time. We agreed it was the right decision to make.”
Eight ASA board members have already been elected, but three posts are still open. Still to be filled are the positions of president, vice-president and an additional member.
Suspended president Leonard Chuene, vice president Kakata Maponyane and a third board member are fighting a legal battle to retain their posts.
Sascoc board member Ray Mali, who has been seconded to ASA, stays on as administrator.
Mali has been called on to assist the troubled Gauteng Cricket Board and will be based at the Wanderers cricket stadium.
“... If I need Ray Mali, he'll be just around the corner. All I have to do is give him a call,” Ramaala said.
“They've already got staff members at ASA and the general running of the office would go ahead with or without me,” he said.
“I suppose I'll have some important calls to make, and everything going through the office will need the ASA stamp, but I'm not expecting too much stress.”
It was important that whoever was at the office remained within the parameters of the federation and followed the right structures.
“You can't have someone assisting with administration who is more concerned with personal issues than the interests of the federation.
“I'll be here until the problems with the Chuene-era are cleared up and until Sascoc are confident that we have the grounding and the financial backing to hand control of the sport back to us.” – Sapa