Parliament, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 – The Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture held a meeting today to receive a briefing on South Africa’s preparedness to participate in the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, which are scheduled for July 2021.
The committee was briefed by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and Athletics South Africa. It heard that the matter concerning South Africa’s 800m world champion, Ms Caster Semenya, is being brought before the European Court of Human Rights on appeal. Papers will be filed in March. Athletics South Africa President, Mr Aleck Skosana, said Ms Semenya has not been included in South Africa’s provisional Olympic squad because of this.
The Chairperson of the committee, Ms Beauty Dlulane, reiterated the committee’s support for Ms Semenya. She said most countries would like to see Ms Semenya participate in the Games, an aspiration that is being frustrated by “rules and guidelines”. She added: “We are concerned that this has affected Caster’s preparation. This issue of rules unjustly disadvantages Caster and denies her rights to participation and qualification, and the committee’s view is that those rules are unfair.”
Ms Dlulane said in a world that is still grappling with inclusiveness and human rights transgressions it is only fair that Ms Semenya be allowed to race in her favourite 800m distance. Athletics South Africa told the committee that it has received support from Sweden and it is hopeful that Ms Semenya will win her appeal.
The committee noted the challenges with team preparation, funding and Covid-19 plans.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE, MS BEAUTY DLULANE.
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