Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
13 Mar 2019
12:24 pm

Local track and field season saved

Wesley Botton

Athletics South Africa pushes ahead with the domestic campaign despite the massive loss of a financial backer in Liquid Telecom.

Luxolo Adams in the mens 200m during 2018 Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series 3 meeting at Dal Josaphat Athletics Stadium on March 22, 2018 in Paarl, South Africa. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

While the top-flight local track and field season will be compressed into a two-week period, with Athletics South Africa (ASA) losing significant corporate support this year, the federation has confirmed the domestic campaign will go ahead next month.

It was recently revealed that Liquid Telecom, which had signed a three-year deal last year as the headline sponsor for the lucrative Athletix Grand Prix Series, had withdrawn from the agreement after just one season.

This left the top-flight local campaign in doubt, potentially reducing the number of opportunities for South African athletes to qualify for the World Championships in Doha later this year.

While the elite domestic season was expected to be launched last week with the first leg of the ASA Summer Series, that meeting had not taken place. Two more Summer Series meetings remained listed among the fixtures, but neither had been confirmed and both were likely to be scratched.

Despite the loss of funding, however, ASA revealed on Wednesday that two ASA Grand Prix series meetings would be held in Bloemfontein on April 13 and Potchefstroom on April 18.

The national senior championships would be held in Germiston the following week.

No sponsor had been announced for the Grand Prix series, while the event programmes and athlete incentives had not yet been released.

Meanwhile, ASA also unveiled a four-leg Cross Country Grand Prix series to be held in Potchesftroom, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Joburg in July and August.

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