Athletics South Africa (ASA) is satisfied so far with the performances and the times that its athletes have been posting ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro later in the year.

A bigger track and field contingent may be sent to Rio in August, says ASA President Aleck Skhosana, who added here Wednesday that all was in order as the coaches were working hard with the disciplined athletes who knew what they wanted to achieve.

With the Olympics around the corner, the athletes are in a race against time to qualify and be selected for Team South Africa. They have been competing in international and local meets and have been very impressive.

This year may also see South Africa send its biggest and strongest athletics team ever to an Olympic Games, said Skhosana.

Looking at the athletes who have graduated from the youth category to the junior category and those in the first year of the category and exiting, it was possible that ASA might be able to have a huge team looking at the performances recorded so far in the provinces, he added.

It was a positive sign for a country which had struggled to secure medals in track and field disciplines, including the marathon and cross country events, he said.

“We have seen our athletes in Europe and America running some good times and (setting) national records indoors and it says when they come to the outdoor competition they will be able to do justice,” said Skhosana.

While the federation is satisfied with the turn of events, some athletes continue to cry foul over the qualification criteria but the ASA remains unapologetic at the higher standards set.

“If you up the criteria there is a possibility that your athletes will get to the finals and win medals and South Africa will be happy,” said Skhosana.

The issue of qualifying for the squad is the main gripe marathon runners have. A preliminary team will be announced in April. Those who will feel unfairly treated will have an opportunity to appeal.

Source: SABC