President's Voice – Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

This update comes to you from a very cold Sochi in Russia where we are at the Sportaccord Convention World Sport & Business Summit.
This is where sport and business meet to discuss the latest developments in sport. There’s never a dull moment at these summits and so it was when the President of Sportaccord, Mr Marius Vizer, attacked  the International Olympic Committee for its lack of transparency.
Needless to say the hours following that assembly were characterised by journalists running all over each  other to get comments.
The upshot of this outburst by Mr Vizer was that many International Federations withdrew their support for Sportaccord.
There will be a lot of debate on this matter in the weeks to come. We will follow this episode with interest and await any decision that will indicate the future of this important forum in the years to come.
I have reported on previous Sportaccord summits and it seems that more people come to these gatherings year upon year. There is something for everyone who come comes here. Business conclude serious deals with sport here.
Cities promote themselves as ideal destinations for sport to host International Federations and their events. Pity South African cities do not see the need to be at these gatherings to hear what events these Federations have and how keen they are to take their events to all corners of the world.
Cape Town concluded their deal with the International Triathlon Union for the event taking place over the weekend at the Sportaccord gathering also here in Russia (St Petersburg). Granted it is not cheap to take up a booth here but South African cities can work together to capture some of these lucrative events.
There must be a reason why cities like Barcelona, Beijing,  Edmonton come year after year. It is something for our cities to have a look at.
It is also important to hear how countries position themselves to benefit from the explosion in the sport industry. President Putin and his ministers were at pains to explain such huge investments in sport are necessary for Russia. It is plain to see from infrastructure development taking place in this country.
Not only the infrastructure but also the development of sport. The concentration on regional sport is amazing and region are encouraged to cater for all sport. I guess one can only envy these people who are so determined to use sport to develop people
Meanwhile it’s been very encouraging to see some great performances at the ASA track and field championships. Good luck to Stephen Mokoka after he bettered the 20-year-old SA 5000m record and we also saw Ruswahl Samaai setting a PB and world-leading 8.38m in the long jump.
Stellenbosch got a feast of athletics with the Varsity Cup also being held at the same venue a few days later so it’s quite impressive what is happening at our tertiary institutions. Remember that there are also Varsity Cup netball and sevens rugby events happening in the Western Cape.
We should encourage the armed forces to also focus on sport as it used to do in the past. Our Technical Vocational Education Training Colleges should also be given the necessary support to develop athletes for the country.
I must end on a sad note to pay respects to John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu, one of our soccer greats. He was taken from us before he had even reached his 50th birthday. So very sad to see this. His skills were ahead of his time and one can only hope that his legacy will inspire future stars.