By Duncan Mackay

Akani SimbineJune 30 - South Africa's athletes will be able to compete in the Universiade, which is due to begin in Kazan on Saturday (July 6), after the organisation which governs student sport in the country withdrew its membership of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

The SASCOC were refusing to send a track and field team to the event in Russia because they have suspended Athletics South Africa (ASA) in a row over governance.

University Sports South Africa (USSA) have now pulled out of SASCOC so they can send the team of 27 to Kazan, making their total squad 120 strong who will compete in 12 sports. 

"We have taken the painful decision to withdraw our membership of SASCOC to allow our athletes to compete at the Games," said USSA President Tyrone Pretorius.

South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula is trying to broker a deal between SASCOC and ASA.

"We will resolve this," he said.

"Whether or not it [USSA's withdrawal from SASCOC] is the right decision is a matter for another time.

"For now, I'm happy that the team will represent South Africa in Russia."

Fikile Mbalula Sports MinisterSouth African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has promised to find a solution to the row between SASCOC and ASA that threatened the athletes participation in Kazan 2013

Both of South Africa's gold medals at the last Universiade, in Shenzhen, two years ago came in athletics.

Sunette Viljoen won the javelin while the men's 4x100 metres relay team also took gold. 

The 4x100m is again set to be one of South Africa's strongest events in Kazan as their team includes Anaso Jobodwana, an Olympic 200m finalist at London 2012, and Akani Simbine (pictured top), the national junior record holder with a best time of 10.19sec for the 100m.

Mbalula told the team at a send-off in Johannesburg that they should not allow the row to affect their preparations for Kazan.

"We are employed to lash these people when they're being naughty in the boardroom," he said.

"Don't worry about the shenanigans going on in boardrooms.

"They do not know what it takes for athletes to prepare for something like this.

"We will never allow them to take this away from you.

"They have no right to do that."

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