Athletics SA focused on Olympic preparations amid coronavirus fears

At a briefing on Thursday, Japan's Olympics minister said a cancellation or delay of the Games would be 'unacceptable for the athletes'.

Aleck Skhosana. Picture: Athletics South Africa.

JOHANNESBURG - Athletics South Africa president Aleck Skhosana said that the body was carrying on as normal amid concerns that the coronavirus could see a postponement of this year's Olympics.

At a briefing on Thursday, Japan's Olympics minister said a cancellation or delay of the Games would be "unacceptable for the athletes".

Skhosana said that while they waited for the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) to give them direction on the way forward, it's full steam ahead in their preparations for the Games.

"We are planning and will continue," Skhosana said on Thursday at a media briefing.

"We are planning for our Olympic trails in April with the hopes that we will go to that country (Japan). That is what we must do at this point in time. We must control what we can control and leave those that can be controlled by other people."

As for Caster Semenya, Skhosana believed that she would represent South Africa at the Tokyo Games, even if it was not in her preferred distance of 800m.

Semenya banned from competing in her chosen event at major meetings, ranging from 400 meters to one mile, unless she followed World Athletics rules that required her to medically reduce her natural testosterone levels to compete in women’s competitions.

The regulations were designed for female athletes with differences of sex development.

Semenya appealed against the regulations twice. She lost her first appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and was waiting to hear back from the Swiss supreme court on her second legal challenge.

"She was not born an 800m or a 1,500m runner. She has also done 400m. She has done 300m. We expect to see her at our (Olympic) championships, coming with a new event. You can speak to her about which event she will participate in."

One athlete whose Olympic participation is in doubt is Carina Horn. She's been provisionally suspended since last year for alleged use of a banned substance.

Skhosana had this to say on where ASA stood on her appeal.

"Any member federation is not supposed to talk on a matter that is sub judice,” he revealed. “The matter of Carina Horn is before the Athletics Integrity Unit. For now, we have received that information, we pass it on to her and there is nothing more that we can say."