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President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

On a recent visit to Kuwait and Qatar, the importance of resources for sport development was once again underlined by the two governments’ willingness to invest in infrastructure and top personnel.
They do not have the challenges of huge populations like many other countries but in years to come they will be a force to be reckoned with in world sport. Already the number of world events staged in Qatar seem to suggest that they mean business.  During our
stay in Qatar we were able to watch the World Handball Championship and for the first time in the history of these championships Qatar made it to the final ousting well known handball nations like Spain and Poland.
The determination of Qatar to succeed is there for all to see.
Athletic South Africa (ASA) will soon benefit from the use of the extensive facilities in Doha. ASA President, Aleck Skhosana who accompanied me on this trip wasted no time in making the connection with his counterpart in Doha. The outcome expected is that a team carefully selected by ASA will join athletes from other countries in a camp for long jump and high jump athletes to be held in Doha. This will be the start of further exchange programmes with the Qatar Olympic Committee which has a willingness to share
resources and infrastructure for our use.
The latest ranking of our athletes on OPEX indicates that we still have a lot to do to get our athletes up amongst the best in the world. Rowing is well on track and I believe that with the current rankings as a yardstick, rowing will again deliver a medal or two in Rio.
Athletes are also enjoying good ranking and with more support and exposure our athletes will not shame
us in Rio.
The High Performance department at Sascoc is in the process of concluding interviews with coaches and presidents of Federations that have set their eyes on achieving good results in Rio.  The criteria has been set and it is  against this criteria that athletes are preparing themselves and with the support of their NF’s and Sascoc we will see what all our efforts will bring out as we go through qualifiers and World Championships in the various sporting codes.
Congratulations to Duane Vermeulen for scooping the Rugby Player of the Year award as well as the successful staging of the SARU awards. The cricketers got a huge send off last week, we wish them well. The last time I wrote this update, we were still hoping that Bafana Bafana could make it. Next time may be, congratulations Ivory Coast.
Raven Klaasen continues to make a good showing for SA in tennis doubles and it’s also great to see our Fed Cup girls gaining Fed Cup promotion in Estonia. May their good form continue.
Congratulations to Jacques Jansen van Rensburg and Olympian Ashleigh Moolman Pasio for their road race wins at the national cycling road championships and hats off too to Olympian Chad Ho who swam to a sixth Midmar Mile title in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Blitzboks failed to win three tournaments in a row when they were knocked out in the Cup semis but they still lead the series which is good news ahead of their Olympic debut in Rio next year.
Now they’re off to Las Vegas, traditionally a happy hunting ground for them.. let’s hope the clever money is on them to take the title this weekend.


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