Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
30 May 2014
7:00 am

Zandberg blasts SSA

Wesley Botton

Backstroke sprinter Gerhard Zandberg, has fired a warning at Swimming South Africa (SSA) that the country's elite competitors will stand up against the federation in future if they feel poorly treated.

FILE PICTURE: Gerhard Zandberg during a training session in Daegu, South Korea. FILE PIC. Photo by Wessel Oosthuizen / Gallo Images

Zandberg’s nine-month battle with SSA came to an end on Wednesday when the federation was ordered to cover part of his legal costs after the swimming body withdrew its judgment against the former world champion.

“There have been a lot of issues with SSA, but we’ve been silenced. There is a clause in our contracts that stops us from speaking to the press,” Zandberg said yesterday.

“But I decided I had had enough and I had nothing to lose, because I’m nearing the end of my career.

“There’s a bridge now between SSA and the athletes, and I’m that bridge. If there is any more nonsense, we are going to come down on them again.”

Zandberg believed he had been vindicated after being fined and sanctioned for switching rooms without clearance at the global championships last year.

His ban was suspended after his appeal, but he took SSA to the high court and the swimming body said last week it had lifted the sanctions against him due to escalating legal costs.

Zandberg claimed SSA staff and administrators did not value the country’s top swimmers or understand the amount of effort they produced to reach the highest level.

“They don’t know enough about the sport,” he said.

“What we really need is for them to support us and for the people at SSA to do their jobs properly.”

However, SSA president Jace Naidoo said the swimming body was short on resources, insisting the organisation did what it could for elite swimmers after losing its corporate sponsor in 2012.

“There’s a lot of effort that goes in, and even though we don’t have a financial sponsor we have been able to build partnerships and provide opportunities,” Naidoo said.