Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
15 Oct 2013
6:02 am

Soweto Marathon remains stranded

Wesley Botton

After making a last-ditch attempt to save this year's Soweto Marathon from cancellation, the Sports Ministry confirmed yesterday the race had been called off.

FILE PICTURE: Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Sports and Recreation. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said last week he would meet with stakeholders after the annual 42km event, scheduled to be held on November 3, was abandoned for the second time.

“The Minister has been advised, through his interactions with various people, that logistically it will not be possible to organise the race due to time constraints,” Mbalula’s spokesman Paena Galane said yesterday.

“We will continue to engage with the various role players in an attempt to ensure the race is held again next year.”

Mbalula’s office said last week it believed the problems with the organisation of the event did not revolve around money, but rather boardroom politics.

The race was first cancelled last month when the unregistered Soweto Marathon Trust said it could not attract sponsors due to the poor image of athletics in the country.

The trust also blamed Athletics SA (ASA) president James Evans for withholding broadcast rights fees from the national federation’s deal with the SABC.

Evans said it was against the ASA constitution to share income from broadcast rights with race organisers.

With the trust stepping back, Gauteng MEC for Sport Lebogang Maile compiled a task team to find sponsors for the event, but the interim committee announced last week it was still R1-million short, despite making numerous cutbacks.

Provincial body Central Gauteng Athletics said it had run out of time with only two weeks to go, and they abandoned their efforts.
It will be the first time in more than two decades that the annual race will not be run through the historic township.