President's Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam

This column comes to you from Cali, Colombia, host of the 2013 World Games.

Our home away from home here in Cali is quite fascinating. It is a city with so many facets and staging the World Games here is such a pleasure.

The opening ceremony was really quite something to witness. The people of Cali came out in their thousands and packed the stadium. It was a sight to remember and all the teams received a huge roar as they entered the stadium.

Full stadia is what athletes and coaches live for and even before they got onto the playing grounds, they felt welcomed and accepted.

The World Games is a stage that we should occupy in bigger numbers in the future. The non-Olympic sports codes in our country can do well if we begin to pay more attention to these kinds of games.

It is not easy to qualify if you do compete regularly, but some of our sporting codes like squash, korfbal and karate should hold their own against the best in the world.

I would suggest that we identify the codes that we can prepare for the next edition of the Games. The ÔÇ£geesÔÇØ amongst the athletes here is encouraging and all show appreciation for the efforts of South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.

There are countries here that are in their private clothes and marching past must have some embarrassment to themselves and their countries.

Not so for our team that looked ever so elegant.

On my way to Cali I was in Italy to check out our new training camp facilities and this is a project that really excites me. Myself and Ezera Tshabangu (GM: High Performance) were in Gemona del Fruili, not far from Venice.

The government of the Gemona region are very keen on entering into an agreement with SASCOC and expand that to a national level. We at SASCOC are committed to sending at least 35 athletes to prepare for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, along with support staff from High Performance and a Chief Medical Officer and coaches. To this effect we’ll have a test run of between five and seven days in October. Top track and field manager Peet van Zyl was on hand to introduce us to all the relevant authorities.

The joy of having a base in Gemona is that there are top notch training facilities all within 40min of the base, including swimming pools (25 and 50m), boxing, weightlifting, trap shooting, target shooting, canoeing, rowing, triathlon and judo.

We made it very clear that we are not standing in line for hand-outs from anyone… this must be a partnership and we want to establish a national training centre back home which we will make accessible to the Italian athletes.