Johannesburg – When Aleck Skhosana was elected as president of Athletics SA (ASA) in 2014, the federation was in the intensive care unit.
But now ASA has been resuscitated and seems to be attracting sponsors.
Thanks to its partnership with Stillwater Sports, an agency tasked to look after the federation’s commercial and marketing interests, ASA is now being sponsored by Puma.
South African sprinter Henricho Bruintjies is one of the sportswear giant’s ambassadors and will wear their gear at athletics meetings.
The inaugural Grand Prix Series, which takes place in three cities next month, seems to have opened doors for the ASA.
The first leg of the meeting will take place at Ruimsig Stadium in Johannesburg on March 1.
The second leg will be hosted at Tuks Stadium in Tshwane on March 8, while the final will be held at Dal Josaphat Stadium in Paarl on March 22.
Joshua Cheptegei, the 2017 IAAF World Championships silver medallist, will take part in the first leg, while US sprinter Justin Gatlin will compete in the Tshwane leg.
Puma will be the official apparel sponsor of all three events.
ASA will reveal the Grand Prix title sponsor this week.
“We found an agency that will help us secure sponsorship deals. Our partnership is the beginning of good things. More sponsors will soon come on board,” Skhosana said.
He said their priority was to assist athletes to improve their performance at international tournaments and, now that they had done that, they were focusing on finding more sponsors.
“We have created a good environment for our athletes, who are competing against the best in the world.
“We want to organise top-class competitions at which some of the best athletes in the world will compete.”