CAPE TOWN – Olympic gold medalist Darian Townsend on Tuesday told Eyewitness News Sport that due to Swimming South Africa’s financial woes he is unlikely to represent his country again.
The trials for the World Championships got underway in Port Elizabeth on Monday, with Townsend not competing after it emerged that swimmers who qualify for the World Championships in Barcelona will have to personally contribute to make the trip.
Townsend along with Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman and Lyndon Ferns won a dramatic 4×100 freestyle relay gold in Athens.
Speaking to Eyewitness News from Arizona, Townsend said the latest situation has forced him for now to give up his dream of competing at Rio 2016
“I don’t see myself surviving financially or motivation wise. I don’t think it’s fair that we have to pay for ourselves to go represent our country at these big competitions.”
Townsend said it was unfathomable that the federation was in this predicament.
“I don’t see how after winning three medals in London in 2012, the SA Swimming cannot find a major sponsor to help pay for us to go to World Championships. I don’t know who’s running the show there because like I said I receive no communication so I don’t know who’s doing what but it doesn’t seem like much is being done to help us.”
He said improved communication would be the first step towards mending the fences.
“I think better communication, especially for us that are oversees, because we don’t get to see the head couch or the manager of the team that meets in South Africa. We’re kind of excluded over here and it’s been like that for many years. Some sort of financial help would also help for those that make the team.
The federation will be sending the swimmers to Spain but they will have to pay for their own flights and accommodation for the championship starting on 19 July.
The swimming federation lost their major sponsor in 2012 as Telkom pulled the plug on their R11.55 million per year deal.
Article source: http://ewn.co.za/2013/04/16/Townsend-wont-represent-SA-again