Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
30 Apr 2014
11:00 am

SA athletics in good shape

Wesley Botton

Former 400m hurdles world record holder, Gert Potgieter, believes the impressive organisation of the Varsity Athletics series is an indication that the sport is back on the right track.

File photo. Picture: AFP.

Potgieter, one of South Africa’s most accomplished athletes of the 20th century, attended the fourth and final meeting of the annual series for students in Pretoria on Monday night.

“I must congratulate the athletics club of the University of Pretoria for an outstanding, professional presentation tonight,” he said in an interview with SuperSport.

“I’m a member of the old regime, and to see athletics as it’s been presented tonight, I really feel excited and I’m very optimistic about the future of athletics in South Africa.”

Potgieter won double gold in the one-lap hurdles and 4×440 yards relay at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff.

He was sixth at the 1960 Melbourne Olympics, after hitting the final hurdle and losing momentum.

Four years later his career was cut short when he was involved in a motor accident shortly before the 1960 Games in Rome.

While he believed the long-running administrative issues at Athletics SA (ASA) had done some damage to the sport, the 77-year-old former athlete was confident the federation was in the process of being stabilised after the recent intervention by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

“We’ve got fantastic talent in South Africa. From school level to Olympic level we’ve got wonderful, outstanding athletes.

“It’s just a matter of our national body really getting on board with the new administration and the new (ASA ad hoc) committee, and that is in the pipeline, so I’m very optimistic of the future of SA athletics.”