South African Olympians have supported Sunette Viljoen after the javelin thrower bashed the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) for unfairness and ill-treatment of South African athletes.
Viljoen said she couldn’t contain her anger and how “heartbroken” she was after she and other fellow athletes were presented with a poor kit for the Rio Olympic games. Not only that the athletes’ kits were so cheap, they were also “oversized” that the athletes had to look for their own tailors to fix them.
The Rio Olympics silver medalist lamented that for long, South African athletes have been poorly treated, adding that although she knows many athletes share her despair, she sometimes feels as if she is the only athlete willing to speak out.
She has also for months been at loggerheads with the sports governing body over payments to her as one of the 38 athletes on the operation excellence (Opex) programme.
SASCOC Still Owing Sunette Viljoen
“I haven’t been paid since February. I’m a competing athlete and the payments just stopped. I don’t know what happened. I almost feel like I was left for dead in my Olympic year and that is a horrible feeling.”
However, after sharing her pains, South African 400m hurdle runner LJ van Zyl threw his weight behind his compatriot on Twitter. He posted: “I had to sell my @samsung gift phone just to help cover some costs for my Rio prep. So don’t feel alone.”
— LJ van Zyl (@ljvanzyl) August 24, 2016
Responding to the athlete’s complaints sports minister Mbalula said he will ignore Sunette Viljoen’s “abusive” tweets because the 32-year-old “complains too much” and has a “lots of negative energy”.
Meanwhile, the heartbroken athlete has admitted receiving her first payment of R200 000 for her silver medal. Also, she would be receiving an additional R70 000 as part of additional cash bonuses to all Team SA medal winners.