President's Voice ÔÇô┬áGideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC
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President’s Voice ÔÇô┬áGideon Sam

The death of Karen Muir came as a huge shock to the swimming fraternity. We mourn her death with her family and many of her friends which she built up over a long and successful career in swimming.

Unfortunately she could not display all her talents as she would have liked because of the many years of isolation for South African sport. Our deepest condolences go to the Muir family.

The youngest ever holder of a world record at the age of just 12 back in 1965, she was one of her kind and her backstroke record stood for seven long years.

There is a pool in Kimberley named after her ÔÇô and actually used for a national age-group gala just recently ÔÇô┬áand hopefully her memory will serve to inspire other aspirant swimmers.

Still on the topic of swimming,  there was much shock and dismay at the news that swimmers will have to pay for their trip to Barcelona to compete in the World Championships later this year. We tried to get to the bottom of the story and discovered that Swimming South Africa had indicated that they would not be able to pay all the costs of the swimmers going to Barcelona.

This was then interpreted to mean that all the swimmers must make their way to the Championship at their own costs. After consulting with the CEO of SSA, Mr Shaun Adriaanse, it became clear that the circular sent out the members was open to different interpretations.

After some intervention from our side, the matter was laid to bed. Our OPEX programme swimmers will be taken care of and those not on OPEX will need to make a minimal contribution according to SSA.

I also attended the launch of the extension of the Varsity Cup in Johannesburg. Following on the successful rugby varsity cup, more sport will be added, these being, athletics, netball, women’s hockey, sevens rugby and beach volleyball. ┬áThe competition will lead in an exciting phase for varsity sport. We can’t wait to see the talent that this competition will unearth.

We urge all our federations involved to embrace the concept and grow with it.

Our SASCOC road shows are at the tail-end of business now and the next step is to consolidate the lessons learned and call the MEC’s to join us in a breakfast meeting to chart the way forward. By that time we will have a pretty good picture of who is in or out of OPEX.

We will hold our Council meeting on 13 April and the plans for Rio 2016 will be shared with the council members. But before that, I must go off to Abidjan to share my thoughts on how we can help the continent perform better at the Olympics. The symposium called by ANOCA will bring together administrators and consultants to discuss ideas of how to make Africa do better at international events.

Out on the sports fields its great to see our Rugby Sevens Blitzboks take another title, this time in Tokyo. With Sevens being an Olympic sport in 2016, this code represents a very definite medal chance and already we can see how other countries have upped their game to be competitive. However, a medal will be no guarantee in Rio and Paul Treu and his men will need all the support they can get going forward.

Elsewhere Jordy Smith continues to surf up a storm around the globe and it was great to see our London Olympian Daryl Impey win a stage of the Tour of the Basque Country cycle race in Spain. Gymnast Bianca Zoonekynd got her season off to a great start in the US so there’s no doubting that our sportsmen and women continue to make their presence felt on the world stage

Ending on a sad note, I must also send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of our fallen soldiers in the Central African Republic. There can be no greater sacrifice than to lay down your life for your country and they will be remembered by the nation.


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