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Team SA jet off to Delhi
- Updated: September 26, 2010
By Mark Etheridge
Team South African headed east for New Delhi, India on Sunday as organisers battled to ensure they’d arrive to suitable accommodation and competition venues.
A powerful squad of 147 will represent South Africa at the 19th Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India between 3-14 October this year.
South Africa’s Olympic governing body, SASCOC, made the initial team announcement of 115 names at Olympic House in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 21 July. They later added a further 32 names to the squad on 25 August.
The team attended a farewell banquet in Boksburg on Saturday evening and departed in two waves on Sunday.
Despite huge concern over safety, health and venue readiness the team left in confident mood.
“I’m sure everything will turn out fine,” said SASCOC president Gideon Sam. “You will remember there was lots of apprehension at our readiness to host the soccer World Cup this year and that turned out to be a huge success.”
Sam was confident of the team’s success going so far as to say he hoped our athletes would bring back 15 gold medals. At the previous Commonwealth Games in Melbourne four years ago they won a total of 38 medals (12 of them gold). That placed them fifth on the medals table.
SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy said he was confident the Games would turn out well and that the team’s security was up to scratch.
This will be the fifth occasion that South Africa has been represented at the Commonwealth Games since re-joining the Commonwealth in 1994 after a break of 33 years during the international sports isolation period.
Since their return to the Commonwealth, South Africa have never finished lower than 12th on the medals table. Their first Commonwealth Games after isolation were in Victoria, British Colombia where they won 11 medals to place 12th.
Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell has confirmed that at this stage all 71 nations would still send teams but athletes continue to withdraw to safety and health concerns.
The latest embarrassment for organisers came as a boxer from the host nation, sat on his bed in the athletes’s village and it collapsed underneath him.