President’s Voice – Gideon Sam
October 10th, 2012 | Published in President's Voice
It would have been reasonable to think there’d be something of a lull after the London Olympic and Paralympics – but think again – not here at SASCOC.
The CEO, Mr Tubby Reddy, has shared with me a long list of things that we still have to get done before we can take, what hopefully everyone will agree, will be a well-deserved break at the end of the year.
On that list we have the upcoming elections; the Coaches’ Conference; the launch of the Academy System and the Zone 6 Games in Zambia.
We also want to sort out the matter of the OPEX athletes before we take our break to ensure that the athletes plan their next four years properly and know what is expected from them.
In paying attention to all of the above, what remains uppermost in our minds is the Road to Rio 2016. We have seen how countries improve after every quadrennial and we dare not let up on our efforts.
Once again it is going to require from us a very intense and professional approach to our preparation. The coaches and the athletes must be given a clear programme of action and unlike in many cases in the past, the monitoring of the activities of athletes and coaches in the OPEX system will be tight.
We do not want surprises in the major competitions going forward. There must be a way to determine at what point we should remove an athlete from the programme to minimise costs so the next four years are going to be busy ones indeed.
There still remains a burning issue for sport in South Africa and at SASCOC we are acutely aware of the battle to get our funding in place in time to make the necessary impact. We will once again make our case very strong at the meeting with the Portfolio Committee for sport in the near future.
There was an overwhelming sense of support after the Olympics and Paralympics in London. This must now be translated into Rands and Cents to enable us to focus on the preparation of the athletes and not worry about which project or programme to cut because our funding is not secure.
The word out there is that we will be better resourced and we therefore remain positive.
It’s also very pleasing to see that our athletes continue to perform ever so well on the global scene. In swimming we have seen London Olympic medallists Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos shining in the first two legs of the FINA World Series. And fellow Olympians Roland Schoeman, Darian Townsend, Kathryn Meaklim and Suzaan van Biljon also made their presence felt.
Then the likes of Stephen Mokoka and Rene Kalmer (also London Olympians) were pure best placed finishers at the World Half-Marathon championships in Bulgaria last weekend. Our hockey girls have also been in action in the Champions Challenge tournament in Ireland.
Which all goes to show that South African sportsmen and women will continue to make their presence felt in the wide world of global sport.