- Competitive athletics in South Africa is set for a 1 November return.
- Athletics SA says it will be done in accordance with government’s strict Covid-19 medical and safety protocols.
- Races up to 10km are allowed but those over longer distances are regarded as high-risk events and therefore not allowed.
Athletics South Africa (ASA) will resume training and controlled competition activity from 1 November 2020.
The athletics governing body announced via a press statement that this will be done in accordance with government’s strict Covid-19 medical and safety protocols.
Running events are back but will be limited to distances of not more than 10km and this includes road running, park runs, cross country and trail running. Races over longer distances are regarded as high-risk events and are therefore not allowed. A maximum of 500 athletes will be allowed for road running, cross-country, trail running and park runs.
For track and field, the maximum number of participants at a competition venue at any given time will also not exceed 500 (including athletes, technical officials, volunteers, medical team, media/broadcasting team and stadium workers).
At both running and track & field events, no spectators will be allowed, ASA noted.
The statement read: “All rules and restrictions pertaining to the allowed events will be reviewed at the end of December 2020 in consultation with the Sports and Health Departments.
“During the period of 1 November to 31 December 2020, only licensed athletes will be allowed to compete in ASA accredited events and this includes temporary licensed athletes. Temporary licenses will be issued at provincial level at least 48 hours before competition to prevent a large gathering seeking licenses on race day.”
ASA added that events normally taking place during the December festive season were not approved due to the high risk of Covid-19 infections.
“And with regards to return to training, only athletes in possession of a licence will be allowed to commence with training to prepare for their events. All access to training facilities are subject to compliance to the Covid-19 regulations at each training facility. More information in this regard will be announced in due course.”
Aleck Skhosana, president of ASA, commented: “We are also entering a new era as an athletics family in the country as we begin to claw our way back to an unknown future under a new order of sporting life.
“However, while we look at returning to partial activity under the new order of things, let us not forget that the priority is still to first save lives since the Corona virus is still very much with us.
“Where relevant, staggered starts will be employed to mitigate big groups and in the case of running events, one water point with ample water tables will be permitted and will be manned by masked volunteers who will be required to sanitise their hands after every group of runners has passed. All water sachets will be pre-ordered (at least 72 hours), treated and safely kept until race day.
“The volunteers who handle the sachets will wear gloves and will be screened accordingly. This means volunteers and race marshals will be trained in the Covid protocols, and will enforce acceptable social distancing and make sure water bottles are not shared. Only water sachets that are supplied at the official water stations by the trained marshals or volunteers will be allowed.”
– Compiled by Sport24 staff