BIDJAN, Reuter: Africa could boycott the Seoul Olympics if South African-born long-distance runner Zola Budd is allowed to take part, Lamine Ba, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for sports in Africa (SCSA), said on Saturday.

“On the question of apartheid we are intransigent”, Ba told Reuters in an interview on the eve of a London meeting which will discuss the naturalized Briton’s future as an athlete as well as Britain’s participation.

“We are ready to make the necessary sacrifices, even if we have to pay the price for such a choice. This is why Africa has boycotted sporting events in the past, even when it means creating frustrations among athletes and slowing down progress because without top level confrontations we cannot evolve.

“But if a boycott must be the price we pay for the honor and dignity of black man, then we are ready to pay the high price,” said Ba, the head of the continent’s ruling sports body.

Ba, a 55-year-old Senegalese who has headed SCSA for the past eight years, said that Budd had continued to take part in track competitions in South Africa “despite holding a British passport of convenience”.

He said that under both international amateur athletic federation rules and the Olympic charter she no longer qualifies for the games.

The British Amateur Athletic Board (BAAB) Council meets in emergency session on Sunday after being told by the IAAF to ban Budd or face suspension itself.


Article extracted from this publication >> April 29, 1988