JOHANNESBURG – The South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) has warned it will “tackle” federations dragging their feet signing selection criteria agreements a year out from the Tokyo Olympics.
Sixteen of the 31 sports eligible to represent South Africa at the Games have not met the deadline. The agreements between Sascoc and each national sports federation stipulate the qualifying criteria for the next Olympic Games that will kick off in Tokyo next July 24.
But nearly half of the sporting codes, including hockey, athletics, rugby, boxing and football, were either disputing parts of the agreements or were merely dragging their feet in the process.
Debbie Alexander, a member of the Sascoc high-performance advisory committee, said they have been given until Monday to sign the agreements.
“The deadline has already passed, and the staff has told the federations that the time is up, they are way past their dates,” Alexander said.
“So it has been a bit of a challenge because we have done our utmost to be way ahead of the curve to do the general eligibility criteria, to do the (sport) specific criteria, to engage with them, and we are still waiting. We have highlighted those to be tackled more stringently than others.”
Alexander said the high-performance process had already started at the beginning of 2017 when Sascoc surveyed the athletes, federations, coaches, and the medical and scientific fraternity to create the qualifying criteria.
“We have been working with our one aim to support the athlete as best we can, from a scientific perspective, from a medical perspective,” Alexander said.
The continental route for Olympic qualification has been a significant sticking point over the years with Sascoc taking a hard-ball stance at the previous two Games in London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Ten national federations have requested amendments to the current suggested criteria for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.@ockertde