SwimSA says it wasn't sabotage

FILE: Gerhard Zandberg (R) and Cameron van der Bergh at OR Tambo airport, 5 August 2009 after returning back from the FINA World Championships in Rome. Picture: Neil McCartney/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG – Swimming South Africa (SwimSA) on Saturday fined medal hopeful Gerhard Zandberg R5000 and ordered him to do a year's community service after he moved to his girlfriend's room during the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona which concluded on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Zandberg sat in a disciplinary hearing hours before attempting to win a record fifth medal in the 50 metre backstroke. 

At the race, he slipped at the start and failed to make the finals. 

Speaking to 567 CapeTalk/Talk Radio 702’s Stephen Grootes on Monday, SwimSA CEO Shaun Adriaanse said the action taken against Zandberg didn’t have any effect on his performance. 

He stood by their decision to discipline him as well as the timing of the hearing. 

“If you look at other sports, these measures are taken whether it’s before a final or not. The disciplinary measures are quite clear. We dealt with it when we were able to and the sanction was imposed.” 

He said it’s important that all professional athletes adhere to their relevant rules. 

“If you represent your national team and there are rules in place, you need to comply with those rules, irrespective of your age.”

Earlier in the Barcelona trip, Zandberg posted criticism of the team's management on Facebook and was brought before a disciplinary hearing.

Adriaanse said the hearing wasn’t timed to sabotage the swimmer in revenge for his the criticism.

“It was a case of having to maintain the order and discipline of the team.”

(Edited by Craig Wynn)