Tuks replaces Pilditch as SA Champs host stadium
The newly renovated Pilditch Stadium in Tshwane will no longer host the SA Senior Track and Field Championships scheduled to take place from 16-18 April. Despite the millions of Rands spent to upgrade the spiritual home of South African athletics, the SA Champs have been moved to the University of Pretoria's Bestmed Tuks Stadium next week due to Pilditch's lack of lights and grading certificate from World Athletics.
With less than a week to go before the eagerly awaited championships Athletics Gauteng North (AGN)'s recently elected president Hendrick Mokganyetsi told #TheTopRunner that their request to host the national championships was rejected by the City of Tshwane municipality because the stadium is not deemed ready and still needs minor adjustments which will not be fixed in time for the competition.
“I can confirm that the SA Senior Track and Field Championships will now take place at the University of Pretoria. Things are not going well at Pilditch. To put it bluntly, the stadium is nowhere near ready to host any event," said a disappointed Mokganyetsi. “There are no lights and a lot of minor things need to be fixed and I don't see how these things would be fixed in a short space of time. We did not get a certificate of grading from the World Athletics. We would like to apologize to the athletes, coaches, and everyone that was excited to take part in the new look Pilditch Stadium. I was also excited and could not wait to see how the athletes would perform at the refurbished stadium as we have been waiting for too long for this opportunity. But the Tuks Stadium is all we have to host the championships," he said.
The three-time Olympian, said they sent an urgent letter to Tuks requesting them to step in as Pilditch's replacement. Today the AGN Local Organizing Committee, led by Mokganyetsi will hold a meeting with Tuks management to put the final touches to their preparations. A few weeks ago, AGN were kicked out of the Tuks Stadium because the regional federation failed to comply with Covid-19 event regulations. The man who doubles as a coach at the Tshwane University of Technology said a repeat of what took place at the AGN's first league meeting last month would not happen again. AGN has promised Tuks that they will abide by the Covid-19 regulations and keep the numbers strictly to the 500 outdoors as required by the rules governing the Coronavirus National State of Disaster.
Speaking from Paarl where the SA U18 & U20 track and field championships took place lat week, Mokganyetsi said he was settling into his new position of president nicely. He replaced the long-serving president John Mathane as the new AGN president last month. “I am in Paarl attending the junior champs. Next week we will be busy with the senior championships and then I will get the ball rolling in the office. Since we got Tuks as the alternative venue for the senior championships, we will have a busy week with meetings with the LOC, Tuks, and ASA to arrange press conferences, accommodations, and other logistics. But we are ready and are confident that we will still host the most exciting senior champs even though our wishes to host them at the Pilditch Stadium were not granted due to things that are beyond our control," added Mokganyetsi.