WORLD backstroke champion Gerhard Zandberg has had controversial sanctions lifted by Swimming South Africa, according to The Citizen.
“SSA will rather allocate the funds, which are needed to litigate further in this matter, towards its athletes and furthering the sport as a whole,” SSA said in a statement. “Consequently and notwithstanding the actions by Mr Gerhard Zandberg, SSA has withdrawn its findings and sanctions against Mr Zandberg.”
Last summer, SSA levied some heavy penalties against Zandberg for switching rooms to spend the night with his girlfriend allegedly without permission at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.
Zandberg, however, has always claimed that the move was necessary as his roomate Cameron van der Burgh had a head cold that night and Zandberg was unable to sleep because of it. Zandberg has stood behind his version of the story saying that he asked his federation for permission to change rooms, but never heard back from them.
After a lengthy disciplinary meeting that took place between the heats and semifinals of the 50 back, the federation elected to fine Zandberg R50,000 and a complete a year of community service. SSA also initially planned on banning Zandberg from competition for two years before backing down off that sanction.
Zandberg’s lawyers state that they have yet to accept SSA’s ruling today.
“They have made an offer, which we received this morning,” Zandberg’s lawyer Karen Van Eck said. “But I have not had a chance to discuss it with my client, so I don’t have instructions from him yet. It’s very premature for them to be issuing a statement.”