President's Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam

For the last past few weeks the SASCOC office at Olympic House has been firing on cylinders and by the time the staff go on holiday early in December, there will be some tired bodies out there.

We assisted with the delivery of the Wada Conference; hosted the IOC president Mr Thomas Bach and also worked with ExecE to prepare our high performance athletes for the world of work.

Then it was the General Assembly of the International Paralympic Committee in Athens where Sir Philip Craven was elected for another four year term of office. It was however clear that there is a need to look at restructuring the IPC to deal with the demands of the times.

The re-elected president was keen to get this process underway and 2014 will see another congress to consider restructuring suggestions from the membership.

After announcing at a press conference our intention to give our athletes all the support they need to prepare for Glasgow 2014 and Rio 2016, we were off to the city of Gemona in Italy to sign the agreement that will make it possible for our athletes and coaches to have a venue to prepare between now and 2016.

A group of athletes and coaches accompanied a small team of SASCOC staff to check out the facilities in Gemona. From the comments made it is gratifying to see how appreciative the athletes and coaches were.

This camp and the enthusiasm shown by our counterparts in Gemona clearly indicate our seriousness to put up great performances in Glasgow and Rio.

A number of our federations are going to be very busy hosting international events in the next coming months.  A huge contingent of overseas beach volleyball players will descend on Durban for what is billed as a not-to-be-missed international. So I may well see some of you in Durban early December.

Then Triathlon South Africa have also pulled off a coup to have one of the legs of the ITU grand prix in Cape Town. This will give our own triathletes opportunities to sharpen their skills and gain valuable ranking points as the start their qualifying process for Rio 2016.

In April next year Pietermaritzburg will also host the opening round of the MTB World Cup series, so we can see that the world’s top sportsmen and women are becoming accustomed to top events being hosted by South Africa.

Just to leave you with an update of how some of our sports stars have performed: Armand Marais, one of our bronze medal-winning lifesavers from World Games in Colombia, turned bronze into gold at the recent German Cup event, against some really tough competition so well done to him. Our canoeists really excelled at African sprint championships with every member returning home with at least one medal.

On the hockey front both the men’s and women’s sides have booked their places at next year’s World Cup in the Netherlands.

Heyneke Meyer’s rugby Springboks returned from their season-ending tour unbeaten and last but certainly not least, it was wonderful to see Bafana Bafana putting one over world champions Spain in Johannesburg. May our sport continue to go from strength to strength in 2014.

Right now though, it is time to really slow down to get those those batteries recharged for what promises to be a very hectic 2014.  To readers of this regular update, let us meet again in 2014.

Have a great festive season and if travelling, please drive with care.