Elite swimmers going to world champs - Reddy
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has confirmed that South Africa's elite swimmers will participate in the World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona in July.
However, Swimming SA (SSA) says lesser known athletes might need to contribute some of the costs if they hope to take part.
Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy said on Tuesday the governing body would cover the costs of all athletes on their operation excellence (Opex) programme for the global championships.
"When we got back from the London Olympic Games last year, SSA indicated that their main sponsor, Telkom, had pulled out, and that they would have functional issues financially," Reddy said.
"We have retained all Olympic medalists and finalists on the Opex programme from the London Games to this point, and we will now reassess the athletes on the list.
"Anyone in the next phase of Opex will have their expenses covered by Sascoc, but SSA will need to focus on finding funds to cover the other members of the team."
SSA chief executive Shaun Adriaanse said the federation hoped to find a commercial sponsor to send the athletes who were not included in the revamped Opex programme.
"It's always a struggle finding major sponsors and we haven't been able to find a replacement since Telkom decided not to renew its contract," Adriaanse said.
"Barring those on Opex, the athletes might need to make a contribution to ensure their participation."
While the federation's main focus was on swimming, which produced three medals from the London Games, Adriaanse said SSA also planned to send men's and women's water polo squads, a synchronised swimming team, and a group of divers to compete in the world championships.
Adriaanse confirmed that SSA would be able to cover around 85 percent of the team's costs, aside from those on the Opex list, and that athletes would contribute no more than R3 000 each.
"We have got some funding from (global governing body) Fina, which will help with the costs, and if we can find a corporate sponsor before the championships the athletes won't need to contribute," he said.
"Most of the funding we have will go to the swimmers, and the athletes in other disciplines, like the divers who are going to the world championships for the first time, will probably need to contribute more, but it depends on how many athletes qualify.
"We need to manage the risk and make provisions to cover the costs."
South Africa finished 25th in the medals table at the previous biennial World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai in 2011.
Cameron van der Burgh, who is on the Opex programme, secured two bronze medals in Shanghai, and Gerhardus Zandberg bagged the country's only other medal, another bronze.
It was South Africa's worst performance at the global showpiece since the 2003 championships, also held in Barcelona, where they finished 23rd on the table with only one bronze medal.