President’s Voice – Gideon Sam
We had a fantastic launch of the team kit for London last week and from all accounts, the reviews were great. The athletes loved what they saw and paraded in and that brought a smile to management and the Board members because we always aim to keep the athletes happy so that they can perform better.
Our partner in the procurement of the kit, ERKE, was equally impressed with the professionalism with which we launched the kit. If we continue to show what we can do as a Confederation then we are in for a long relationship with ERKE.
There are those who believe that we are insensitive to the needs of our own manufacturing sector, but this is a sponsorship of clothing to the tune of well over R20m and no money will come into the coffers of SASCOC. When we present our teams at the various international competitions, we will draw down against the amount for them to provide the clothing from their own manufacturing plants.
Following our uphill battle to procure a clothing sponsorship for our teams in the previous quadrangle, we are happy with what we could get, sealed and signed, up to 2016.
The mascot, Chukuru, was also launched, and the crowd favourite danced himself into the hearts of South Africans. Even the falling pants incident could not stop Chukuru from making his entrance on to the ramp to join the athletes showing off their brand new kit.
In the days and weeks that will follow, the South African public will meet Chukuru and the various events leading up to the London Games. Our thanks go to the designers and the public that helped us choose our mascot. Congratulations to the prize winners and please join our Face book page to express your views as we march towards London.
It’s also good to see more and more athletes qualifying or getting closer to qualifying. Very pleasing is to see two of our equestrian experts – Alex Peternell and Paul Hart – put their name in the hat. Coming from South Africa our riders have an uphill battle both in terms of the sheer expense and travel involved but also the question of quarantine etc for their horses. It was also good to see our archer, Karen Hultzer get closer to a spot when she qualified at the continental championships.
I am currently in the Eastern Cape following the numerous Easter tournaments to see where the talent is. These tournaments tend to throw up good talent that get opportunities outside the areas where they live.
The Association of National Olympic Committees meet in Moscow next week and over and above the general business of such an organisation, opportunities are given to NOC’s to make inputs on topical issues close to the hearts of many NOC’s. I have been tasked to speak on the topic of “Events as catalyst for development”.
Many NOC’s regard the hosting of major events in their countries as an important catalyst to get development on many fronts off the ground. The CEO, Mr. Tubby Reddy, will join me on this trip to take care of all the administrative matters that will be discussed at this meeting.