By Duncan Mackay

Anaso Jobodwana London 2012June 28 - South African athletes hoping to compete at the Universiade in Kazan next month are set to become the first casualties in a row between the country's governing body and National Olympic Committee.

Athletics South Africa were banned last week by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) in a dispute over how the sport is administered.

The SASCOC have responsbility for picking teams for all major multi-sport events, including the Universiade, and are refusing to pick any athletes, even though the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) are backing ASA in the argument. 

A total of 27 athletes, including London 2012 Olympic 200 metres finalist Anaso Jobodwana (pictured top), were expected to be part of the team for the Universiade, which is due to open on July 6.

Also affected is Akani Simbine, the South African junior record holder for 100m with a time of 10.19sec.

"We have a crisis with the athletes in this team," said Gideon Sam, President of SASCOC. 

"We as a Board believe we need to be consistent when it comes to the participation of the athletes.

"Our stance is that we will not be sending an athletics team."

At the last Universiade in Shenzhen two years ago, South Africa finished 24th overall with seven medals, two of them gold, which were both in athletics thanks to Sunette Viljoen in the javelin and the men's 4x100m relay team.

Sunette Viljoen javelint throwerSunette Viljoen won the javelin at the last Universiade in Shenzhen two years ago, one of two gold medals claimed by South African athletes

Sam did leave some hope for the athletes when he claimed that he would be willing to negotiate to find a solution, although short of ASA backing down and removing President James Evans it is hard to see how the situation can be resolved before Kazan. 

"If we have to sleep in this building [Olympic House] to resolve this issue, then we will do that, but as it stands, we do not support this team," said Sam.

"This is all about governance issues, and it's unfortunate that it touches on the poor athletes.

"There is a bitter feeling now, and it's a dark day, but hopefully by our next [SASCOC] Council meeting in August this issue will be resolved.

"There is no way we can stand for issues of governance being compromised."

South Africa will send a team of 93 athletes competing in 11 sports but Chef de Mission Nomsa Mahlangu admitted medals would be hard to come by, especially with the athletics team to contribute.

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