South Africa Track Gets Approval for Games : Olympics: IAAF’s backing leaves all the country’s sports in good standing for Barcelona.

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<i> From Associated Press</i>

South Africa was officially welcomed back to the world of track and field here Friday.

Athletics South Africa, the sport’s governing body in that country, received provisional membership in the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the final step to a unified South African team competing at the Barcelona Olympics. Other South African sports federations had been voted into the Olympics earlier.

The IAAF council granted membership at its meeting, and the final, rubber-stamp approval will be given next year at the IAAF’s congress in Germany. The provisional membership means that South Africans can immediately begin competing in international track and field events.

South Africa’s IAAF membership was revoked in 1976, but reversal of the apartheid system of racial separation in recent months has put the country back in the good graces of other countries and sports governing bodies.


IAAF President Primo Nebiolo visited South Africa last year and recommended afterward that South Africa be accepted. That recommendation was adopted Friday.

Deon Van Zyl, president of Athletics South Africa, said a 25-member team of black and white athletes will compete in Barcelona.

“You may rest assured that South African athletes are elated, to say the least,” Van Zyl said after the IAAF council granted the membership.

Although medal prospects this summer are slim, the Barcelona Games will be the first step in the re-emergence of the country as a track and field power.

Medal favorites include 10,000-meter runner Elana Meyer, 3,000-meter runner Zola Budd-Pieterese and marathoners Abel Mokibe, Zithulele Sinqgue and Jan Tau.