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Top SA athletes call on corporates for financial support

Wayde van Niekerk says he hopes the quality of his performance will score him some much needed support.

FILE: South Africa's Wayde Van Niekerk reacts after winning the final of the men's 400 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on 26 August, 2015. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Two of South Africa's star athletes have called on corporate South Africa to get behind the sport as they continue their struggles to secure sponsorships to put them on a par with the rest of the world.

Yesterday, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula told EWN Sport that Telkom should have used history-maker Wayde van Niekerk in its latest advertising campaign instead of world record holder Usain Bolt.

On Saturday, after running 9.98s for the 100m at the Free State Champs, Van Niekerk became the first man in history to break 10s for the distance as well as 20s for the 200m and 44s for the 400m.

The athlete told EWN Sport that he hopes the quality of his performances will see corporate South Africa come knocking.

"Telkom chose Usain Bolt because they would like to be the fasted in the world. Us South African athletes respect that, but obviously it's quite sad knowing that we've got such great athletes and sports people in South Africa at this moment and there are not really getting opportunities or offers that they can."

While Akani Simbine, who last week broke the SA record for the 100m in a time of 9.96s, said that the quality of athletes in the country now means that sponsors have something worthwhile to back.

"We've actually done so much now in our sport and with the complications and the struggles of financial support, we've done so much and we've done as good as we've done now. I was just saying imagine what we can do if we can get all the support we need."

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