President's Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam

The latest media briefings on the progress made or not made in in the field of transformation revealed yet again the amount of work we still have to do  to transform sport in our country.

I don’t think we ever said that it will be a smooth journey to transform many sectors of South African society after so many years of structured divisions. But what we did say was that we will work towards normalising South African societyÔǪ and that obviously includes sport.

In sport we were immediately up against it because the funding model for sport has never been satisfactory to the people involved in sport.

With so many other competing priorities for our government it was always going to be a hard sell to convince Treasury to give more to sport when people were calling for houses, education and health services.  We therefore had to make do with what we got in sport. To transform sport we agreed at the Sports Indaba of 2011 that sports federations must sign a scorecard detailing how they are going to pursue transformation in their own respective sporting code.

This is what we are busy checking now and it seems that in some quarters this is an unfair process. Surely this cannot be right because we agreed that we would pursue transformation in our sport.  I guess the verdict is still out there as to what we need to do to convince people that transforming all sectors of South African society is the right thing to do.

Threatening to run off to court when, within this transformation process goals are set for sport to achieve, is definitely not the way to go.

The need for local government and sport to meet is now urgent. We need to find answers to the total neglect of maintenance of existing facilities in so many disadvantaged areas. A meeting of minds will find a solution to this vexing matter and I must emphasise that this meeting must happen soonest.

But, as usual, there are still some great performances by our sportsmen and woman that offer encouragement.

How impressive was Simon Magakwe’s breaking of the 26-year-old 100-metre sprint record at the recent national track and field championships? This man has fought his way up from grass-roots level and is now South Africa’s quickest man. Take a bow, Simon!

And still in athletics, our Paralympic legend, Ernst Van Dyk raced to a record 10 wins in the Boston Marathon in the United States earlier this month. It’s performances like these that give us hope for the way forward. It was also good to see other Paralympians Ilse Hayes and Fanie van der Merwe being ranked fourth and fifth best male and female athlete respectively at the Brazil Open athletics and swimming Open in Sao Paulo and swimmer Kevin Paul was second in the swimming ranks.

On home soil down in Cape Town our 2012 Olympian Richard Murray was best of the South Africans to finish fifth in first ever World Triathlon Series event hosted on the African continent and 2012 world junior champion Wian Sullwald ended 15th.

In Botswana our badminton team retained their Africa Cup of Nations title and in Glasgow, Scotland our women’s hockey side are in Champions Challenge action.

Meanwhile, coming up soon here at Olympic House we at SASCOC will honour our sports men and women who in the last 20 years and more have given of their very best for South African sport.