Windhoek-The irate mother of Namibia’s sprinting sensation Sade de Sousa has come out with guns blazing, accusing an athletics official of prejudicial treatment towards her daughter at the just ended IAAF Under-18 World Youth Championship in Nairobi, Kenya.
Sade apparently informed her mother that she felt she was sidelined by certain athletics officials that accompanied the travelling entourage to the east African country.
To substantiate her suspicion, Sade had said she felt aggrieved when she was left to fend for herself after her peers were done with their respective heats and retreated to the hostel (games village).
Sade was made to walk in the rain to find the next bus to the hostel since her heat was the last item of the day, with most of the busses already gone. As a result the poor girl arrived late at the hostel with the kitchen already closed and had to go to bed on an empty stomach.
Sade’s mother, Liza Bezuidenhoudt, who went to Kenya to support her daughter, told New Era Sport that Sade was subjected to all sorts of inhuman treatment to the extent that she wanted to return home.
“She told me she wanted to go home because she had no joy in continuing being part of the delegation as she felt team manager Leonie van Rensburg’s attention was more on the boys than her.”
Regrettably, Sade (hamstring) and Theron Human (boy) suffered injuries.
However, trouble erupted when Sade’s mother decided to accompany her injured daughter to the hostel. She managed to squeeze her frame into the team’s bus – an exercise that did not go down exactly well with Leonie.
“As much as I tried to explain to Leonie that I obtained permission from the officials to accompany my injured daughter on the team bus, Leonie was spitting fire threatening to have my accreditation revoked.
“I felt so humiliated, and so were all the passengers, though they could not understand Afrikaans but could sense that there was a heated argument.”
Eventually Sade was referred for MRI scans and when she texted the team manager Leonie she was informed she was occupied with Theron.
And when the latter arrived, Leonie wanted to know who was going to take care of Sade’s medical bill – insisting why she did not go with her to the South African doctor that treated Theron, as she ostensibly would have received free treatment.
Liza has informed Athletics Namibia that her daughter must not be considered for future international gatherings under the auspices of the umbrella body where Leonie is part of it in whatever capacity.
Contacted for comment, AN president Erwin Naimwaka said he did receive the complaint which he viewed in a very serious light but could not divulge details as to what kind of action would be taken to address the accusations.
“Yes, I did receive the letter of complaint that was also copied to various media houses. These are very serious accusations of misconduct. The executive council will convene on Saturday, so until then I’m unable to express myself on the issue.”
On her part, Leonie says she has been operating as team manager for a significant number of years and has always faced such problems in the past whenever parents travel with their offspring.
“I don’t want to comment, but parents always interfere with the duties and designated functions of team management.
“There were a few others on the tour to Nairobi who threatened to draft letters of complaint as well. I’m waiting for all them to submit their grievances before I compile my final report,” she said briefly.