Athletics South Africa will enforce transformation targets on national teams next year, according to the federation’s latest long-term selection policy.
While medal contenders and athletes with future medal potential would continue to be given priority in team selections, remaining places could be affected by quotas in an attempt to meet targets agreed between the federation and government.
According to clause 2.1.2 in the final draft of the new policy document: “Once all medal contenders are selected onto the ASA team, the selection process will focus on selecting athletes until the ASA team reflects the correct representation of the SA population.”
This suggested athletes who had achieved the criteria for major championships, but were not considered medal contenders, may have to step aside for other athletes with lower-ranked qualifying performances.
Sports Minister Mbalula announced earlier this year he had suspended the athletics body from hosting major international sporting events, along with the SA Rugby Union, Cricket SA and Netball SA, after the four federations failed to meet requirements laid out in the annual report released by the Eminent Persons Group on Transformation.
According to the report, ASA had not submitted numerous documents which had been requested by the EPG to measure the progress of each federation.
The sanctions would be lifted next year, according to Mbalula, only if transformation goals were achieved.
The ASA selection policy, meanwhile, also revealed the federation would launch a new national squad structure later this year.
Annual squads would be selected in senior, junior and youth age groups, and athletes would be required to sign memorandums of understanding.
As part of the agreements, they would be required to make themselves available for all national teams, as well as media launches and marketing campaigns.
The federation would meet annually with squad members in order to discuss goals and objectives, and to forge stronger relationships between ASA, its provincial members, coaches, athletes and parents.
Testing and rehabilitation would be made available to athletes who picked up injuries, and an incentive scheme would be used to motivate individuals, though it was unclear whether further financial support would be offered to national squad members.