Athletics South Africa president Aleck Skhosana has been placed in the firing line, with a petition doing the rounds on social media calling for his removal, but based on the lack of support it has received, his position seems safe for now.
With the sport still on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, members of the athletics community had widely voiced their frustration in recent months after multiple other codes had been relaunched at elite level.
Though the domestic athletics season had been expected to start with the SA Cross Country Trials in Potchefstroom last week, the event was called off with five days notice, frustrating runners who had been preparing for it.
Skhosana had also been criticised for referring to athletics as an “amateur” sport in media interviews, while defending the decision to extend the suspension of competitions for both health and safety reasons, as well as a lack of resources.
“Skhosana has brought our sport into disrepute for making disparaging statements against athletes and not prioritising the survival and sustainability of the sport,” the petition read.
It went on to “demand” that Skhosana step down, and for the national body to implement a strategy to open training venues and launch the domestic season for elite track and field athletes and road runners.
As of Tuesday morning, however, only 57 people had signed the document, which largely pushed for the resumption of top-flight athletics but did not address the suspension of mass participation events which affected social road runners who made up the large majority of ASA’s members.
While government lockdown restrictions did allow for events with fewer than 500 participants, ASA had been blocked from holding road running events as the majority of races around the country traditionally attracted well over 500 participants.