President’s Voice – Gideon Sam
April 24th, 2012 | Published in President's Voice
Moscow and London have been the latest two stops on my sporting travels.
First up was Moscow where the ANOC – that’s Association of National Olympic Committees – met to discuss matters affecting all of the various Olympic Committees around the world.
These are issues like the relationships between governments and their National Olympic Committees, especially as far as the autonomy of sport bodies are concerned. It is for this reason that governments are represented by their ministers to take part in any debate that may ensue.
Our own Sports Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula, attended the session and met with the new president of ANOC, Sheik Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah. The President was very keen to engage our minister because he believes that South Africa has a lot to offer the African continent when it comes to matters of sport.
The other matters tackled during the Session relate to gender; mega events in countries and their impact on development. The resolutions of this Session are then taken to IOC for noting or action. A healthy relationship exists between ANOC and the IOC as witnessed by the presence of the IOC president, Dr Jacques Rogge. Prime Minister and President elect, Vladimir Putin also addressed the session to share with delegates how serious Russia takes the hosting of events in their country.
For the Russian government, hosting mega events serves as a catalyst to develop certain areas of the Russian republic. The current President, Mr Dimitry Medvedev addressed all the delegates in the Kremlin. One could not help but notice the more relaxed atmosphere in Moscow compared to years gone by. Just looking at the cars the people are driving one can see that it is a modern city and it could quite easily have been in New York or Sydney judging by the great variety of cars on the roads.
From Moscow it was then on to a board meeting of the Commonwealth Games Federation in London. Topping the agenda there were the update on the preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the all- important review congress that will be held in Kampala, Uganda in September this year.
Like all other organisations, the CGF, is taking a hard look at how it is doing things and most importantly, asking questions about the Games and how relevant these are in the face of so many other competitions that athletes are invited to. We look forward to the outcome of Kampala.
In terms of the London Olympics we now have less than 100 days to go to the opening ceremony and the performances of our swimmers and athletes the last two weeks are very encouraging. More and more are joining the qualifying ranks and there now seems to be quite a rush to get on to that SAA plane to London. And there should be a rush, these Games only come around every four years the the prestige of making that team is huge.
We are all very excited about the number of athletes qualifying and I think we can look forward to a superb edition of these Games in London.