Team SA’s Olympic, Paralympic kit unveiled

Some of South AfricaÔÇÖs leading athletes proudly unveiled Team South AfricaÔÇÖs latest Olympic and Paralympic Games kit at a glittering function in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening.

The countryÔÇÖs Olympic governing body SASCOC launched the much anticipated kit that South African athletes will proudly wear in London later this year and going forward to the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2016.

The launch took place at Turbine Hall, in Newtown and among the sporting celebrities to strut their stuff in the hi-tech kit were prospective London 2012 candidates such as 2008 Olympic silver medallist and long jumper Khotso Mokoena along with Cameron van der Burgh and Chad Ho (both swimming).

Also there were Paralympics track legend Oscar Pistorius, swimmer Natalie du Toit and javelin ace Zanele Situ, Commonwealth Games javelin gold medallist Sunette Viljoen, Amanda Dlamini (who has already booked her ticket as part of the Banyana Banyana womenÔÇÖs soccer side) and wheelchair basketballer Marius Papenfus (also already qualified).

ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs vitally important that our athletes feel not only comfortable and at home in their kit but also extremely proud and honoured whenever they wear it, be it in competition or out of competition,ÔÇØ says SASCOC Chief Executive Officer, Tubby Reddy. ÔÇ£The mere pride and feel-good factor of the wearing of the national kit should serve to up their performance by a few levels.ÔÇØ

Master of Ceremonies Carol Tshabalala, a seasoned television and radio broadcaster, opened the evening while world renowned fashion designer Terrence Bray started the catwalk proceeding, with a glamorous, yet playful line, which ties sport and fashion.

Manufactured by Chinese company ERKE, the clothing pack includes tracksuits and formal suits. Golf shirts, casual shirts and T-Shirts along with sandals, caps, backpacks (which double as laptop bags), towels, suitcases and lots more, which athletes and officials proudly displayed.

Regarding any questions of quality, Reddy has no objections. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm confident that our kit manufacturing company ERKE have come up with cutting edge apparel for our men and women in London.

ÔÇ£We gave them very exacting requirements in terms of quality and style and I have every reason to think that Team South Africa will be more than happy with what we show them tonight.ÔÇØ

Riding the same train is SASCOC President Gideon Sam ÔÇ£IÔÇÖve said this before and IÔÇÖll say it again, our athletes are central to everything we do. Without them there would be nothing so itÔÇÖs only obvious that we want them to love what theyÔÇÖll be wearing. It stands to reason that if theyÔÇÖre happy with the outfits and proud to be wearing them, it will allow them to focus on what theyÔÇÖre there for. And thatÔÇÖs giving their all for their country and hopefully also winning medals for our country.ÔÇØ

Not known for any glamour, Banyana Banyana Captain Dlamini insists those days are over.

ÔÇ£For so long our kits reflected the boysÔÇÖ kit, this time however, the ERKE cut is light, which will make it that much easier to play in. And the cut is amazing; itÔÇÖs feminine I canÔÇÖt wait to wear it in London.ÔÇØ

Echoing words of approval were Jonathan Ntutu and Hilton Langenhoven of the Paralympic fame who strutted the ramp in ERKEÔÇÖs athletics gear ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs breathable ÔÇô which is what we as athletes look for, it makes me want to run even fasterÔÇØ, Ntutu said

ÔÇ£It looks good. ItÔÇÖs great quality; they listened to our requirements and complied.┬á And I love the Protea on it. Gives it that extra proudly South African feelÔÇØ, Langenhoven commented.

Speaking of proudly South African, Papenfus finds the colours, mainly the green a main attraction as he insists it is just the right green, the ÔÇ£South AfricanÔÇØ green. Comfort, colour, cut and quality were just few of the words used by the models to describe the ERKE product, and it was also the case with boxing as modelled by Gift Pilane.

While many of the athletes insist their modelling days are over, it is not the case with Ho. ÔÇ£Oh yeah, I had a jol up there and would have modelled this kit over and overÔÇØ he laughed.

It is that good looking and, hey, if swimming doesnt work out who knows? Ho joked.

ÔÇ£IÔÇÖve also said on many an occasion, that we continue to encourage the South African public to join hands with us. Again, this team is your team as our cricket, rugby and soccer teams. Embrace them, support them and help make things happen for Team South Africa.ÔÇØ Sam concluded.


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