President's Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC
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President’s Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam

I recently seized the opportunity to attend the annual University of Pretoria Sports Awards.

These annual awards at our universities give one a sense of what is happening at that university and just how serious sports is taken by the student body.

No doubt at Tukkies, an award in sport is highly sought after, judging by the number of students came to honour the function. The Sports Bureau under Kobus van der Walt can be really proud of what they produce and contribute to South African sport.

The awardees represented region, province and national and I came away from the awards evening very happy to see how seriously some tertiary institutions take the task of developing athletes for the broader South African sporting scene.

Then it was off to Durban to complete the bidding and hosting strategy process that we started some three years ago in Cape Town. Again this conference was able to attract a number of overseas speakers and exhibitors.

We are now poised to bring together all the role players in the sport and tourism sector to speak with a common voice when we approach government and corporates for support for the various events that we want to bid for over a period stretching from now up to 2030.

This is in a way saying to the country that we are aware of the National Development Plan (NDP), and as sport and tourism we want to make a contribution to this strategy.  SRSA, SASCOC and THEBE will now engage the provinces and metros to finalise the plan.

We have re-confirmed our desire to host the 2022 edition of the Commonwealth Games. This was well received by the conference and the CEO of Sascoc, Mr Tubby Reddy, will now drive the process up to the stage where we can inform the Commonwealth Games Federation of our intention to bid.

Then I was off to the Eastern Cape to attend the SASMA conference which was held at the Wild Coast Sun hotel and the sports medical fraternity met to talk about new trends and also report on work being done to support South African sport. There is definitely a shift away from just talking about the theories that people come across, but there is now a sense of urgency to make practical contributions to delivering better athletes.

The conference agreed that we need to work in tandem to ensure that we have better prepared athletes for competitions at high performance level. Our overseas speakers were able to share with us what the various debates are in their respective countries around different issues that impact on the performance of athletes

My take-away from the conference is that our sports scientists are certainly equal to their overseas counterparts in many respects. The challenge I left the conference with was that we need to intensify our efforts to support our athletes as we prepare for Rio 2016. There is obviously consensus on this and we shall go forward tapping in on all the expertise available in the country.

In terms of sporting excellence our swimmers are still shining around the globe. It seems that just every time I turn on the TV, I read about another medal for Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh. I also see young Myles Brown getting on to the podium.

It was also good to see our young Basetsana women’s football side getting their World Cup campaign off to a winning start in Botswana. Hats off to Shiwe Nogwana who scored a fine hat-trick.

Top accolade must go to our SPAR Proteas netball team though who finally got the better of powerhouse England in the recent Tri-Nations tournament played in Port Elizabeth. That win will go a long way to boosting their confidence going forward.


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