Despite efforts by Athletics SA to obtain an exemption, the 27-member team representing South Africa at next month’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, will be missing Caster Semenya.
“I understand and accept the IAAF’s viewpoint. If they should make an exception for Caster where do they draw the line?” ASA president James Evans said on Wednesday.
Evans had contacted the International Association of Athletics Federations to find out whether there was any possibility Semenya could still compete after the Olympic 800m silver medalist missed the qualifying standard by 0.36 seconds.
While being sympathetic to his request, the IAAF had to stick to the rules of the competition, Evans said.
ASA was also forced to apologise to women’s marathon champion Cornelia Joubert, after an administrative blunder prevented her from travelling with the team to Moscow.
Running a qualification time of two hours 39 minutes at the Orange Marathon in Mauritius in June, Joubert’s name was added to the team, however, it was recently discovered that the Mauritius event was not recognised as a qualification event by the IAAF.
According to Evans, the mistake was made by an ASA official who did not first ascertain which of the marathons were valid for qualification, before submitting names for team selection.
“This should never have happened. Athletics should always be about what is best for the athlete,” Evans said.
“It is totally unacceptable that an athlete should find out at such short notice that she will not be able to compete at a World Championship because somebody did not do his job properly.