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President’s Voice — Gideon Sam

We’re well and truly into the festive season now but I’d like to take a quick look back at latest developments as 2010 draws to an end.

As you may be aware I was in Swaziland briefly for the Zone VI Games, where we sent a strong team of Under-20 athletes.

I must say that it is going to be important in the future to ensure that the preparations for the Games are properly monitored to avoid hassles during Games. As administrators we must not be embarrassed by wildcat strikes as if we did not anticipate such actions.

Officials decide upfront if they are going to officiate and they sign a declaration to that effect. What happened in Swaziland should never have happened if the officials were screened before the Games.

Having said that for our athletes the experience of competing in a continental environment and under circumstances different from what they are used to can make them only grow stronger and become more determined.

In terms of the year as a whole, the 2010 Fifa World Cup remains one of the highlights of 2010.  SA sport was under the spotlight and the world took out their marking pens and gave us a score. What we do with those scores is up to us; we can forge relationships with other countries on the basis of those scores or wait for another miracle to happen.

My view is that we should exploit sport tourism for the next coming years with lots of energy and vigour.

Then our performances at the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore gave us a good picture of where we are in relation to other countries as far as the development of sport is concerned. I cannot emphasise strongly enough that we have to invest more in our youth structures to become a force to be reckoned with in sport.

On the senior side of things the Commonwealth Games in India showed that there is nothing wrong with fielding quality teams in competitions like the Games in Delhi. As usual we will continue to call on our federations to give us quality athletes to present at such competitions.

The 7th IOC conference for Sport, Education and Culture in Durban, once again showed that we can host big events when called upon to do so. The comments by the IOC president, Rogge, confirmed that we are in the league of great event presenters.

Now 2011 will focus on fine-tuning the programmes for the athletes on our OPEX programme and to support those athletes with chances to qualify for 2012.

One of the big events of the year will be the IOC Session in Durban in July which will once again occupy our minds to ensure that we do a good job of it.


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