ASA confident athletics will bring medals from Paris Olympics

FILE - The Olympic rings on display at the Paris City Hall. Photo: Quentin de Groeve/Hans Lucas via AFP

FILE - The Olympic rings on display at the Paris City Hall. Photo: Quentin de Groeve/Hans Lucas via AFP

Published May 27, 2024


Athletics South Africa (ASA) President James Moloi is confident that his federation will contribute to Team South Africa’s medal haul at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games in August.

Track and Field as well as Road Running athletes returned from the Tokyo Games empty-handed as the country brought back three medals (two from swimming and one from surfing) back in 2021.

But as he looked ahead to his second Games as the head honcho of ASA, Moloi expressed confidence that his federation will deliver medals this time around.

“We are really positive that we will get medals in Paris,” Moloi said on the occasion of 60 days prior to the games’ opening ceremony.

“Our relay teams are looking good and we’re expect them to do well. And the youngster Prudence (Sekgodiso, the 800m specialist) is currently in Europe doing well there and she told me that she can go for 1:55/56.

She currently has the world lead in her discipline and we have others on the track — like Akani (Simbine), who is in great shape, and we just hope he maintains it until the Games — who will do us proud.

“Our relay teams — both the 4 by 100m and the 4 by 400m, are also giving us hope. So we are anticipating a good return from Paris. I’d say we can bring back plus minus three to four medals if they keep the momentum going.”

Adding to Moloi’s confidence are the incentives on offer for the athletes to medal in Paris.

“We are doing our best to encourage the athletes as a federation and the recent announcement of incentives by SASCOC will no doubt add to motivate them. Also, you must have heard Sebastian Coe’s (IOC President) announcement that they will give $50 000 (over R900 000) to the gold medalists and I believe that will lead to our athletes giving it their all.

“Of course, it is not about the money, but the passion of representing your country at the highest level that should see the athletes wanting to shine.”

He expressed hope that he country will be behind the athletes in their endeavour to do South Africa proud.

“It was amazing how the entire country got behind Amabhokobhoko (the Springboks during their Rugby World Cup) and even how they supported Bafana Bafana (when they played at the Africa Cup of Nations), so I am urging the country, please give our athletes the same backing when they carry the flag out in Paris.”

Before Paris though, they have the African Athletics Championships in Cameroon next month.

“Most of our athletes are currently running Diamond Leagues in Europe but they will be coming back home and run at the African Championships to convince the country that we will run well in Paris. And we are confident that they will do well there to get further confidence before they go to the Olympics.”


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