Olympic athlete Maswanganyi dumps SA at African championships  

US-based track sensation, Shaun Maswanganyi, faces possible withdrawal from SA’s Olympic Games team after throwing tantrums over accommodation and leaving his compatriots high and dry at the African Senior Championships in Douala, Cameron.

The 23-year-old Maswanganyi – who was scheduled to take part in the relay race at the African champs – which started yesterday and will end of Wednesday, was so unhappy about sharing a bed with fellow Team SA member that he pulled out of the competition.

He left relay and sprint coach Paul Gorries seething and scrambling to find his replacement.


US-based athlete was unhappy with accommodation

According to sources in Cameron, the former St Alban’s College pupil and current University of Houstin student and athlete was so angry about his accommodation set-up that he called bigwigs at Athletics South Africa (ASA), the South African South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and then his coach in the US, who apparently booked him a ticket out of Douala.

His tantrum shocked teammates and management alike who are all staying at Faya Hotel and are sharing beds as per the host country’s arrangements.

“This affects everyone in the team, not just Shaun,” said a source who refused to be named for fear of reprisals.

“Even other teams such as Ethiopia, Morocco who are also staying at the hotel, were affected,” added the source.

The team’s management is so shocked by his behaviour that his inclusion to represent South Africa at the Olympics Games at the end of next month hangs in the balance.


Another source on the ground in Cameroon said the team management viewed Maswanganyi’s conduct as setting a bad example, saying it should be nipped in the bud.

A total of 65 SA athletes are competing at the championships.

“The Africa Senior Championships were a chance for the relay team to prepare for the Olympics Games and to see how well they work together. Instead, the coach had to find a replacement for Shaun at the 11th hour,” said the source.

He robbed another athlete of a chance to participate in championships

“What is even more disappointing is that he has robbed another athlete of a chance to participate in the championship. He could have just not accept the invitation to participate in the race and gave the opportunity to someone else.”

Head of delegation Sabata Kumalo confirmed that Maswanganyi did not participate in the relay race as scheduled after leaving Cameroon because he was unsatisfied with the accommodation arrangements.

“After he raised his concerns, we did two things. We talked to the hotel if they could assist with a single bed for him, and the hotel said they would see what they could do,” Kumalo told Sunday World.

“The team management also took the initiative and called a team meeting. We addressed the team that this was beyond the team management’s control. Some African countries provide accommodation in this way and is normal for them.

“We also brought to the attention of all team members that everyone else is going through the same hospitality as provided by the hosts,” said Sabata.

Sabata said as the head of delegation, he will submit the performance report compiled by the team management which will include this incident. 

“ASA will then decide what to do with it,” he said.

Maswangayi said he was on a flight and was not able to respond on Saturday evening when contacted. He said he will be able to respond on Sunday. He had not responded at the time of publishing the story. 

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23 COMMENTS

  1. I absolutely agree with this athlete. It is 2024, hotels need to be on world standard. No athlete should be exposed to this. I for one cannot sleep in a bed with someone, how on earth must he rest sleeping in a bed with a virtual stranger. Totally unacceptable. Camaroon should not have been the host country if they cannot provide. The argument that other countries are in the same boat, does not make this right.

  2. I fully understand the predicament that this athlete has to face.
    What I don’t comprehend is the rhetoric that comes from his fellow compatriots.
    His team mates and coaches all sound to be mentally enslaved.
    Bravo to athlete Maswanganyi for standing up for his right to personal dignity.
    As for those who say the situation is prevailing in other African states hosts, i think they need to wake up from their slumber.

  3. Did you miss the part where IT’S ALL ATHLETES that are affected, even from other countries. No one said it is ideal but everyone was affected and none of them chose to desert their respective countries and their responsibilities. They still delivered even with that challenge. There are ways to deal with challenges when faced with them. Abandoning your team, country and responsibilities is not one of them. And the way in which he did it is totally wrong. Some people are driven by pride and it’s a killer. He’s not even that well known like your Wayde and Simbine and if he carries on like this, he won’t even get the chance to shine in the Olympics should SA decide to exclude him. Which they should after he deserted the team like this. Yes I don’t agree with the arrangement but how he dealt with it is totally unprofessional.

    • Just because it affected everyone it doesn’t make it wrong for him to leave and correct for the others to stay.

    • I agree with you.He should complain but think of his future also.We sometimes compromise.He might fail to impress in the US and think of 🇿🇦.

    • It takes one sacrifice to liberate others, there is nothing wrong with the guy conduct, sharing a bed with a total stranger is complicated.

  4. I’d have also done the same, no professional athlete in 2024 has to go through this. If Douala was incapable of hosting the event they should have said so and not have to subject athletes to sharing beds. it is high time these administrators take responsibility and provide for athletes what is due to them. You can’t expect 2 adult males to share a bed. Imagine if it Eben Etzebeth and RJ Snyman who had to share a bed. It would not end well.

  5. It’s how he reacted to me, that the issue I have with him. There was no need for anger, equally so, he could have used the same money he used to book his flight ticket to get himself accommodation suitable for him, but also, we didn’t get to hear if the hotel had managed to source the bed for him.

    I wonder if this was communicated in due course to the players though.

  6. Do they have to share beds?! Nee, nee, not even school children share beds on trips. Now you blame a professional athlete for leaving the event. Why organise it if you don’t have expertise. Check other news houses, other athletes are also complaining

  7. Sharing a bed at international level contest! Crazy! Crazy! Crazy! It’s not only inconvenient, but also nightmarish! Well done Shaun! You must do it again!

  8. For black people sharing a bed is not a taboo, most of us we have shared beds with relatives as we were growing up. We have shared space, food and many other things. The spirit of Ubuntu is an african trait, he clearly wasnt raised in a black african home. He should have thought of his team instead of his comfort.

  9. He’s 100% right.2024 is not 1924.our sportsmen & women deserves better.the officials sleeps one person/bed and they are there because of the athletes abilities.so treat the athletes with respect.Viva Maswanganyi

  10. Athletics SA (ASA) must have know well ahead of time of the accommodation arrangements and should have made alternative arrangements. If they didn’t know ahead of time then whoever is responsible for travel and accommodation arrangements from ASA didn’t do their job and must face disciplinary action. I wouldn’t let my children of school going age share a bed with a stranger so why on earth would ASA expect grown adults to be comfortable with doing so. And ASA cannot stand on the fact that other athletes agreed to it. That’s like saying one must subject themselves to abuse simply because everyone else is going through the same abuse.

  11. Sharing a bed is eyebrow-raising, sorry. He protested appropriately. He’s been made to look like a brat in this article but his dissatisfaction is understandable.

  12. Shearing bed is total wrong. Yes we can shear a room. If it was me I’ll also do the same. How can you sleep with a stranger in one bed ? Aiy Aiy ni guys no!!

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