Athletics: Commonwealth Games snub to Pieterse

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

ZOLA PIETERSE has been left out of South Africa's team for the Commonwealth Games next month, but on the basis of her form and not because of a hoax telephone call, her manager, Brian Levine, said yesterday.

Pieterse, formerly Zola Budd, was selected as fifth reserve for the squad for the Games, which will be held in Victoria, Canada. A Sunday newspaper reported at the weekend that an anonymous caller had told Athletics South Africa that Pieterse, the former world 10,000 metres champion and 5,000m record holder, was not available for selection.

The head of ASA, Bernard Rose, said there was no telephone call and Pieterse's omission was based purely on performance.

'Bernard came to my office and explained the situation to me. A team of 28 was selected on merit and Zola was fifth reserve,' Levine said. 'I have faxed the news to her at her training camp in Switzerland and I am waiting for a reply. She is certain to be disappointed. But I hope she will take the balanced view.' Levine said three athletes had already withdrawn from the squad, so Pieterse - who ran for Great Britain in the 1984 Olympic Games - had moved up to second reserve.