President's Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC
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President’s Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam

The big question that we must answer now that we have conquered Africa in Maputo and our youth have shown mettle on the Isle of Man in the Commonwealth Youth Games, is whether we can deliver on our promise of 12 medals in London. We remain confident that 12 medals in London are still within our reach.

About 18 months ago at a media conference we started looking at the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is the London Olympics. We said then that we are in the process of putting the puzzle together and that the following pieces were in place.

We had the athletes and we had to push them to achieve high rankings in their respective sport. The tertiary institutions in the country put up their hands and were ready to assist in the realisation of our dream. Our boxers were accommodated by the national defence force at the army base in Oudtshoorn. Our High Performance unit identified the various teams that would give the necessary support to our athletes.

Coaches and athletes presented their programmes to this unit and there was agreement on how these programmes would be implemented and monitored. The Lotto contributed generously to our programmes and we were able to assist our athletes and coaches to go to competitions here and overseas.  This is how far we have gone and now we are on the final stretch to put the final game plan for London together.

Starting with the Commonwealth Games in India, followed by the various international competitions organised by international federations, we have a good idea of what is possible in London. Quite clearly some of our federations have a long way to go if the All Africa Games are anything to go by.

Where some federations overpowered their African opponents, some of our federations could not gain the upper hand.  There is hard work ahead for these federations and when we do the debrief on both the All Africa Games and the Commonwealth Youth Games, we will have to look for ways and means of helping some of our federations prepare better for both continental and international competitions.

We have to be smarter in the way we do things as a country. There must be solid plans for our athletes to get them battle-ready for the competitions set in a four-year cycle. We now know for instance that the boxers that we put into the National Defence Force programme, will only be ready in 2016 and 2020 if we keep them in a structured programme.

The message here is very clear; only long term athlete development programmes supported by coaches who are part of a national structure and the necessary financial resources, will improve our performances wherever we want to compete.

We can therefore conclude that putting all the pieces in the jigsaw puzzle in the right place, will give us the picture that we want to see.┬áThat picture is the 12 medals in 2012. Is this being over ambitious?┬áYes and no.┬áYes if we want to see ourselves at the bottom of the sporting pile all the time and putting forward all sort of excuses why we can’t be a winning nation in sport. No if we believe in the collective power of our institutions.

The collective leadership of SASCOC believe in the London dream. We will pursue this dream until the closing ceremony of the Games in 2012 and thereafter we will go with the Paralympic team to repeat and or improve on their Beijing performances.

We dare not give up even before the race has begun in London. We are after all a nation of winners. The 2011 All Africa Games are now history and we achieved our goal.  The Youth Commonwealth Games are over and we achieved our goal. Let us now set our aims at achieving our goals in London.


1 comments
Steve Smith
Steve Smith

Can you please explain to me why there is no mention of both the SA mens and womens field hockey teams winning the African Olympic Qualifier tournaments and have officially qualified for the Olympics. but I hear they might not be sent because of a SASCOC rule ? The first lines in the SASCOC constitution state "the main object (of SASCOC) is to promote and develop high performance sport in the Republic of South Africa" so I would like to know how you not sending both these teams is promoting and developing the sport? Another point, both teams are ranked 12th in the world, compared to the Bafana Bafana's ranking of 34th but yet they are going ?