‘South African Athletics Doesn’t Want Anymore Wars And Infighting ‘ By Cheryl Roberts

17 Jul

 

 

 

Publisher of 'South African Sport', Cheryl Roberts interviewing, Aleck Skhosana, President of Athletics South Africa

Publisher of ‘South African Sport’, Cheryl Roberts interviewing, Aleck Skhosana, President of Athletics South Africa

 

‘ASA Must Focus On Athletes And Coaches’ – Aleck Skhosana: ASA President

Recently elected president of Athletics South Africa, Aleck Skhosana knows exactly what he wants to achieve for the sport in South Africa.

After much turmoil and strife over the past four years, Skhosana says he feels enough pain for athletics to know that the athletics family ‘wants no more wars’.

Characterised by more infighting and leadership battles than athlete prowess on the athletics stage, Athletics South Africa has pleading for stable, insightful and committed officials. In stepped Aleck Skhosana, a long serving sports official from Durban and a former chairman of KZN athletics.

Immediately upon becoming President of ASA, Skhosana and his newly elected executive galvanized their committee into action, not as individuals but as a collective, working together for the interests of athletics.

‘Unity within athletics is paramount at this stage of our existence. We are tired of the fights and battles amongst ourselves and outside forces, some of whom were determined to destroy athletics in our country.

‘ASA’s democratically elected committee is intent on putting out all fires, unifying and consolidating our formation and concentrating on the athletes, who have suffered amidst the confusion and boardroom strife.

‘We want athletics to make South Africa a proud sports nation. And to achieve this goal, we must ensure that we act in unison, not for selfish and personal ambitions, but for the sport.’

Gaining the confidence and support of the Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula and Sascoc, now that the dark era is over, has satisfied ASA, who also value the global support of IAAF and Confederation of African Athletics.

Attracting financial assistance and support and sponsors to be associated with athletics is one of the objectives which the ASA leadership wants to settle on very quickly.

‘Sponsorship and finance are what the sport needs to function and operate and to support our athletes. We are hoping to appoint a CEO very soon, together with a market/sponsorship company able to work with ASA and benefit the sport,’ says Skhosana.

‘Transformation of athletics from grassroots to the elite levels of excellence is a top agenda priority of ASA. But this achievement goes together with effective and efficient administration at all levels of the sport. Moving athletics forward and onto higher levels will be done in collaboration with ASA’s stakeholders such as SRSA, SASCOC and our athletics membership.

After just about a month in office, Skhosana has been intent on calming the rocky waters which ASA found itself navigating. He is adamant and sincere when he says: ‘We are done with wars and battles’.

Skhosana is also honest to admit that officials and leaders ‘with all the recent infighting and boardroom battles, have failed the sport of athletics in South Africa and on the African continent’.

And now, says the ASA President: ‘Nobody should take a fight to us because we will run from it. We have seen what negatives emanate from leadership wars in sport.

‘ASA’s priority focus is athlete and coach development. This is our mandate for existence and this is what we shall be judged about. If we fail in this ambition, then we would have failed ourselves and South African sport.’

Having been an achieving athlete, who emerged from grassroots participation to be South African champion, Skhosana doesn’t think of failure. Achieving his ambitions is what inspires this sports official, who was educated at the iconic Adams College, just outside Durban, on the KZN South Coast.

As manager of the KZN Academy of Sport, Skhosana knows the priority is to develop grassroots participation if elite athletes are to be discovered, nurtured and developed. It is this understanding of the value of grassroots development which will motivate the leader of athletics in South Africa to never move away from the sport’s objective for existence.

‘Athletics achieves for our country at global sports events like the Olympics and world championships. ASA must continue to assist and develop athletes and coaches so the best talent and potential can achieve the best results for South Africa. To this, we are committed,’ says Skhosana. 

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