American athletes, reportedly promised excessive payments, Saturday broke an athletic boycott of South Africa in a track and field event trumpeted by the minority government as the nation's first international competition in 13 years.
Ostracized by the international community for their government's apartheid policies, South African athletes have been isolated at home since their banning by the International Amateur Athletics Federation 13 years ago. Since 1960, South Africans have been banned from the Olympic Games.The track and field competition, before a sparse crowd in Pretoria, came as a top South African rugby official crossed the border into black-ruled Zimbabwe to meet exiled officials of the African National Congress. Danie Craven, 78, has supported the abolition of apartheid to put the Afrikaners' favorite sport back on the world map.
Saturday, a 15-member international team including 13 Americans - most of them nearing the end of their athletic careers - took part in 15 of 26 events.