The members of the South African contingent representing their country at the FINA World Championships this summer will have much lighter wallets by the end of the competition.
It was reported by the website Sport24 that the members of the South African team traveling to Barcelona will have to pay their own flight and accommodation costs if they wish to participate at the meet.
This news comes after the South African Swimming Federation has not been able to secure a major sponsor after losing a 1.25 million dollar a year agreement with the South African telecommunications company Telkom
Father and agent of Olympic Champion Chad Le Clos, Bert Le Clos told South Africa’s Sunday Times exactly what he thought of the situation, “It’s pathetic that you have to (buy) your own flight tickets.”
“It’s a disgrace when you consider the amount of medals and glory swimmers bring to this country. There are other teams, which I don’t want to point out, that get millions but bring back nothing.”
He has a very good point. At the 2012 Olympic Games South Africa won a total of six medals (3 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze) half of those medals were won by the country’s swimmers.
Chad Le Clos won gold in the 200 butterfly and silver in the 100 butterfly while Cameron van der Burgh won gold in the 100 breaststroke.
Not only is this a troubling development within the South African Swimming Federation, but it is also disturbing to see the lack of communication between the country’s individual sports governing body and the sports minister Fikile Mbalula. While Swimming South Africa CEO Shaun Adriaanse has said to have been working on finding new sponsorship money Mbalula has said that he was unaware of the situation, although it appears he may have helped intervene was the funding from Telkom was lost.