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

It’s never nice to dwell on tragedies in sport but am I the only person left shaking his head at the number of deaths we’ve had this year?

Hardly a week goes by where we learn of another sporting bereavement.

And the last while has seen deaths that affect the rugby, angling and administrative sides of our sport.

Coming from the Eastern Cape as I do, the horrendous happenings of last weekend struck home particularly painfully. After a tough training session, members of the Motherwell Rugby Club took to the waters of Blue Water Bay in Port Elizabeth in an effort to cool off and recover. Of these players, five failed to return to the shore after being washed out to see by a rip current. One body was found, four have yet to be located. My heart goes out to these families and my big wish now is for the other bodies to be found, if only to give the families some form of closure and be able to bury their loved ones.

Then we had the passing of Fred Visagie, a huge figure in South African angling circles. A quiet hard-working gentleman, Fred was invaluable to his sport with the amount of groundwork and effort he put in. The angling fraternity is going to sorely miss his contribution.

Finally, we lost Professor Winton Hawksworth. Many of you may not recognise Prof Winton but he was also a key figure in our sporting set-up. In 2001 he was recognised by IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch for his┬á ÔÇ£remarkable contribution as volunteer to the development of sport and Olympism and to the promotion of friendship and solidarity among peopleÔÇØ.

He was also a chairperson of our anti-doping commission as well as being a member of FINA, the  governing body of world swimming. He played a vital role in traveling around to various schools and lecturing them on the dangers of drugs in sport, work that can never be underestimated.

On a happier note, our Olympic partners Procter and Gamble (P&G) launched their Moms Campaign here in Johannesburg and it was wonderful to hear the mom’s stories about their children and how they started showing signs of sporting greatness from an early age. This campaign is guaranteed to touch the hearts of many South Africans and many moms will be rightly honoured throughout the campaign.

Also last week the roll-out for the school sport campaign took place in Mamelodi near Pretoria. A whopping amount of R33 million was announced to support the campaign. Our Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula made it abundantly clear that the time for talking is now over and people must start implementing the resolutions of last year’s Sports Indaba. We sure hope that all the provinces will come out guns blazing to give the campaign a boost.

It’s also exciting to know that next week we’ll launch our official Olympic kit. A lot of work has gone into getting this right and we invite all South Africans to give us their opinion of what your team will look like at this year’s Olympics and Paralympics.

Also at the launch the winning mascot for Team South Africa (which the sporting public had the final say about) will be unveiled and we can’t wait to see just who got the nod.


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