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Sascoc lifts ASA suspension

The committee made the decision following consultations with Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Sascoc have lifted the suspension placed on Athletics South Africa in June 2013. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - A suspension imposed on Athletics South Africa (ASA) has been lifted following extensive consultations, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) revealed on Wednesday.

The committee made the decision following consultations with Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula.

The move will allow South African track and field athletes to once again represent the country at international level.

In June 2013, ASA's status as a member of the Sascoc confederate was suspended after a power struggle between James Evans and Hendrick Ramaala.

Ramaala was ASA deputy president and Evans was president at the time.

A subsequent legal struggle went all the way to the high court, with the end result seeing Evans suspended from office and ASA placed under administration by Sascoc before their eventual suspension.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) advised Sascoc they would step in to resolve the matter.

In April 2013, the international body went as far as appointing a committee to find a solution to the impasse.

The IAAF committee did not arrive in South Africa, despite making arrangements to do so several times, leaving the general membership of the ASA frustrated.

This resulted in the removal of the rest of the ASA board and the establishment of an interim board tasked with guiding the body in the short-term, under the leadership of Chairperson Sello Mokoena.

The suspension negatively impacted several South African athletes, particularly in terms of funding and participating in domestic events.

These events count as qualifiers for international meetings.

Former long distance runner Elana Meyer compared the impact on athletes to the isolation years of the 1980s and early 1990s.

LJ van Zyl, the 400m hurdler, said the time spent under suspension was the lowest point in his career as an ASA athlete.

Sascoc released a statement on Wednesday afternoon stipulating that ASA's suspension would be lifted, adding that they would only deal with the members of the interim board and not with Evans.

This despite the IAAF publicly supporting Evans throughout the dispute.

With the Commonwealth Games taking place in Scotland in July, the suspension could not have been lifted at a better time for local athletes, who traditionally fare very well at the Games.