Caster Semenya. Picture: REUTERS
Caster Semenya. Picture: REUTERS

Puma SA has set the record straight and says it had nothing to do with the decision that saw Athletics SA officials at the Athletix Grand Prix meeting forcing some athletes to cover up their kit sponsors’ logos in Pretoria last week.

Top international athletes Justin Gatlin‚ Caster Semenya and Akani Simbine‚ among others‚ competed with tape covering their logos at the sold-out event at the University of Pretoria track.

"There is no truth to media reports that Puma was involved in trying to force athletes wearing rival brands to cover their logos at the Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Series at Tuks Stadium on March 8 2018 in Pretoria‚" Puma said.

"Puma is a proud sponsor of athletics in SA and on various levels globally," the company said in a statement.

"We are well aware of the rules and abide by them at all levels and as such would not request athletes or associates to enforce a covering-up of logos. Not least because this would then impact on us in other events where we are not the sponsor, and also as it is in clear contravention of the rules."

Athletics SA released a statement last week in which it promised to take action after admitting to the mistake made by its officials.

"Athletics SA has already started with remedial action by calling for an emergency meeting with members of the technical committee to bring to their attention the error that has been made‚" read the Athletics SA statement.

"Necessary steps will be taken to ensure that such errors are not repeated. Athletics SA apologises for the inconvenience that was caused to the athletes‚ the sponsors‚ the representatives and Stillwater Sports.

"Concealing logos also violated Athletics SA’s own rule 24‚ which‚ among other things‚ forbids "unauthorised marketing".