President's Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam

The recent ANOCA meeting in Abidjan was attended by all the NOC’s except Congo DRC. The importance of the General Assembly was demonstrated by the presence of highly placed officials in the IOC under the leadership of Dr Jacques Rogge.

The government of Cote ‘d Ivoire played an important part in the meeting ensuring that all the arrangements were in place.

The deliberations were somewhat subdued but the elections were tight and those who came out tops will know that they were in a contest.

From what I observed at this general assembly, as a continent we still have to come to grips with the needs of the athletes. The greatest challenge, which is of grave concern to many NOC’s, is that many African athletes give up their citizenship so easily to move to another country where attractive rewards are given to African athletes.

The conclusion that all of us could come to is that we have to make it attractive for athletes to want to stay in Africa.

After this discussion new strategies were put in place to address this issue and will certainly resurface at the next meeting of the NOC’s.

Closer home we continue to pray for former state president, Mr Nelson Mandela, for a speedy recovery and for him to go home and be with his family. We join the rest of the world in wishing him well and also to wish him a happy birthday.

May he live long to enjoy more wonderful birthdays.

We will certainly do our bit as sportspeople on Mandela Day. Various sporting federations will put in their 67 minutes of service for a good cause.

I guess this year especially, Mandela Day will be special with people giving off their time to serve humanity in the fashion that Madiba did.

Some remarkable performances by our athletes recently give us confidence that our OPEX programme is still on track and that the athletes realise that good performances get rewarded. Guys like Anaso Jobodwana and Lehann Fourie are doing their stuff on the European track and field stage and our rowers put in some solid performance in the UK and at the World Cup III event in Lucerne, Switzerland. Our top swimmers are about to be in action at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona and I expect them to be fighting for the medals.

Lastly, the farewell dinner for our World Games athletes take place this Friday and once again, we wish them and the Chef de Mission, Ms Jean Kelly, all the best in their medal-hunting mission in Cali, Colombia.