Team SA’s Olympic, Paralympic kit unveiled
Some of South Africa’s leading athletes proudly unveiled Team South Africa’s latest Olympic and Paralympic Games kit at a glittering function in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening.
The country’s 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 women’s soccer side) and wheelchair basketballer Marius Papenfus (also already qualified).
“It’s 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,” says SASCOC Chief Executive Officer, Tubby Reddy. “The mere pride and feel-good factor of the wearing of the national kit should serve to up their performance by a few levels.”
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. “I’m confident that our kit manufacturing company ERKE have come up with cutting edge apparel for our men and women in London.
“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.”
Riding the same train is SASCOC President Gideon Sam “I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, our athletes are central to everything we do. Without them there would be nothing so it’s only obvious that we want them to love what they’ll be wearing. It stands to reason that if they’re happy with the outfits and proud to be wearing them, it will allow them to focus on what they’re there for. And that’s giving their all for their country and hopefully also winning medals for our country.”
Not known for any glamour, Banyana Banyana Captain Dlamini insists those days are over.
“For so long our kits reflected the boys’ kit, this time however, the ERKE cut is light, which will make it that much easier to play in. And the cut is amazing; it’s feminine I can’t wait to wear it in London.”
Echoing words of approval were Jonathan Ntutu and Hilton Langenhoven of the Paralympic fame who strutted the ramp in ERKE’s athletics gear “It’s breathable – which is what we as athletes look for, it makes me want to run even faster”, Ntutu said
“It looks good. It’s great quality; they listened to our requirements and complied. And I love the Protea on it. Gives it that extra proudly South African feel”, 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 “South African” 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. “Oh yeah, I had a jol up there and would have modelled this kit over and over” he laughed.
“It is that good looking and, hey, if swimming doesn’t work out… who knows?” Ho joked.
“I’ve 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.” Sam concluded.