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President’s Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam
- Updated: March 17, 2014
As we, and the rest of the national and world, keep an eye on the proceedings in the Oscar Pistorius case we are also keeping a close watch on all the preparations taking place for upcoming sporting events (African Youth Games; Commonwealth Games; Youth Olympic Games) in the months ahead.
First up are the National Federations presenting events that are meant to give our athletes an opportunity to qualify for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. We recently saw the bowls nationals and the reports coming out from there are that our bowlers did well and should do well in Glasgow.
Talking about the other bowlers (but this time in the cricketing code), we can only say, next time we will know how to handle those Australian bowlers.┬áIt was a tough series, but we could all see that the new crop of Australian cricketers mean business.
But, the comfort that we can take out of this code is that our Under-19 cricket team returned crowned as world champions from the recent ICC Under-19 World Cup competition in Dubai, so we do have something to smile about.
Many people are asking whether we will have a team to represent us in Glasgow in July/August.
And I’m happy to say that from the High Performance Commission comes the news that all is on track. The support from the Commission’s side is there for the athletes who qualify to make use of of it.
Once again it is important to inform the public that it is not SASCOC who are responsible to bring the athletes to an acceptable level of competition.
The National Federations must take responsibility for their athletes until they can be taken up into the Operation Excellence Programme (OPEX).
Looking at those athletes who are on the programme and who are receiving support one can say that we definitely have the talent to do well in Glasgow.
We at SASCOC are keen to do well and I am convinced that our athletes are keen to go out there and do well.
The next General Meeting of SASCOC, scheduled for 5 April, will evaluate what has been achieved thus far and also what we need to focus on going forward.
The big prize in this four-year cycle is off course the Olympic Games in Rio. Our sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, has also already revealed that as a country we should bid for 2024.
Having said that, means that we should start looking at preparing our teams for such an eventuality.
No country hosts the Olympics only to be spectators while other countries win medals. Hopefully, South Africans will understand that besides thinking about infrastructure and other operational matters; we should also be building teams that will compete well and win medals should the country win the bid to host.
It is in this light that all our junior competitions become so much more focused because he junior of today may be the next wonder in 2024.
Apart from our cricketers’ success it’s also good to see our downhill mountain bike ace and London Olympian Greg Minnaar getting off to a winning return from surgery. Also, our gymnast Kirsten Beckett did very well in Germany recently and I’m hoping that her teammate, Claudia Cummins, gets over her injury quickly as well.
Triathlete Richard Murray, also a part of Team SA at the London Olympics, finished second in a World Cup event in Australia at the weekend.
Lastly, my thoughts go out to Jevandre Pauls and Craig Symons, the two young cyclists who were struck by a car while out training recently. It’s long been a bugbear of mine just how dangerous it is for our athletes to go about their daily training and the latest incident only serves to highlight this.