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South Africa team Moscow-bound despite rift

By Nick Said

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South African athletes will head to the world championships in Moscow as planned, despite the country's Olympic committee cutting ties with Athletics South Africa (ASA) on Sunday.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) took the decision to suspend ASA's membership as they claim president James Evans axed seven members of his own board unconstitutionally after he was impeached over alleged, and as yet unproven, financial irregularities.

The IAAF have sided with ASA on the matter though and that means South Africa's top athletes, including former Olympic long jump silver medalist Khotso Mokoena and javelin star Sunette Viljoen, will be able to compete in Moscow in August.

"We will still be taking athletes to Russia, the decision of SASCOC has no impact on that at all," Evans told Reuters on Monday.

"They have never funded us specifically, hopefully this just means they will now leave us alone."

However, SASCOC have said as things stood they would not consider athletes registered with ASA for any International Olympic Committee events in the future, including the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

They will also stop funding athletes registered with ASA through their Operation Excellence (Opex) program.

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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