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A weekend of fun at SASCOC’s Global Road to Rio Camp

SASCOC held its first Global Camp at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre for athletes who will be participating at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

More than 90 athletes attended the three-day training camp, which included sessions on anti-doping education, medical, and health advice, team building activities, motivational talks by world renown Professor Frank Dick and former Olympian Hezekiel Sepeng and a media training exercise.

“The aim of the Camp was to get the athletes together to build team spirit, as many will be meeting their fellow athletes for the first. It is important that we have a team that is going to Rio with the single focus of participating successfully while representing our country”, said Camp coordinator, Leon Fleiser.

He added that the Camp was also organized to “equip the athletes with relevant information so that they are aware of what is required of them while in Rio. This included a detailed information session on the Zika virus that has affected Brazil, to the very serious issue of doping and drug abuse”.

Sports motivational speaker, Professor Frank Dick, urged athletes to understand what it means to be a South African participating at the highest stage of world sports.

“When you wear your colours let every nerve in your body move to compete for South Africa. You need to stand for your values and strive for performance. If we are to persistently achieve our goals, teamwork is not a matter of choice it is a strategic essential”, Prof Dick said.

He said: “I would like to believe that today I’m speaking to winners. You are not born that way but it’s your choice and we always choose to change our attitudes.”

“No matter how hard you work or the sacrifices you make, the only entitlements you have out there are the right to wear our colours with distinction and to fight for the win”, added Prof Dick.

Nerice Swanepoel of the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport urged athletes to take the initiative to inquire what is permissible and what is prohibited so that they do not find themselves violating the anti-doping regulations.

“Athletes should understand the rules and what applies to them. Know what medications are prohibited so that you don’t find yourself in trouble. As a face of South Africa, you are a role model for the millions of young South Africans who, if they know that you are free of doping, will understand that doping is prohibited and not a right thing to do”, she said.

Addressing athletes on medical and health aspects, Dr Kevin Subban, doctor for TeamSA, gave a detailed briefing on the Zika virus and what preventative measures athletes need to take.

“Athletes need to be aware of the public health care system in Brazil as well as all the other facilities that are available to them once the Games begin in Rio”, Dr Subban added.

SASCOC Ceo, Tubby Reddy, said that the inaugural Camp was the first step towards the long journey to Rio and that building team spirit was crucial for the athletes, the officials accompanying them and the support staff.

“It has been a highly energetic and successful three days, where athletes were really tested, mentally and physically, as individuals and as part of a collective. TeamSA looks in good shape and we are confident that they will make us proud in Rio”, Reddy added.

President of SASCOC, Gideon Sam, urged the athletes to use their individual talents, the support for the country and the spirit of TeamSA to bring glory for South Africa.

“There is no bigger stage than the Olympic Games where you can perform. This Camp is to ensure that all your other skills are also sharpened so that when you are in Rio, you act as a team during the good and hard times”, said Mr Sam.

“We at SASCOC cannot over emphasize the need for such an exercise, which will hopefully produce fully rounded individuals, ready to meet the challenges of competing against the best”.


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