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President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

I’m proud to say that the recent Global Camp in Pretoria was a huge success.
Just to reiterate why SASCOC is involved with this, Team SA is only a team when the members know each other and the Management team who will be working with the team are known.
To be a team where each member cares about the other member in the team and takes responsibility for the performance of the team, is not something that just happens.
We have to cultivate a team culture and follow this up by introducing the team to the fans. We should never, ever take the fans of the Olympic and Paralympic teams for granted.
People like high performance consultant, Prof Frank Dick and former athlete and Olympic track medallist, Hezekiel Sepeng, had some wise words to share at the camp.
Meanwhile in Bloemfontein, Paralympian, Arnu Fourie,  was doing the same by inspiring the athletes at the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled. Arnu had us all spellbound with his road to the podium story.
The applause after his speech was overwhelming.  Athletes need to know that it is a tough and lonely journey to the top.  We hope that both sets of athletes in Pretoria and Bloemfontein took valuable lessons out of the various talks and gatherings.
It’s also so heartening to see the enthusiasm among the athletes as they continue to chase for that qualifying spot before cut-off date. I bumped into two mountain bikers at the HPC who made it clear to me that they are still on track to get spots in Rio.
It’s this kind of spirit that make us all at SASCOC want to go the extra mile to help the athletes and their Federations.
I have a positive feeling that whoever goes out there to finally represent South Africa in Rio, will do their utmost best.
Since my last update it was great to see the Blitzboks making the final of the Vancouver leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series. This code is going to be extremely hotly contested at the Rio Olympics, that’s for sure.
It’s always nice to see our top sportsmen putting back their knowledge into the sport so it was heartwarming to see multiple Dusi Marathon winner Martin Dreyer receiving international recognition for his work with the local communities along the Dusi route.
And our London bronze medal winning canoeist, Bridgitte Hartley ticked all the right boxes at the national sprint championships to prove that she’s on course for Rio.
I also noted our Commonwealth judo gold medallist, Zack Piontek, picked up some more points in South America and his position in the world rankings bodes well for this code in Rio.
We also had a small team at the World Indoor Championships in Oregon, US with Ruswahl Samaai taking fifth spot in the long jump, our best result at these championships.
On the para-sport front that human machine they call Ernst van Dyk won his second NYC Half wheelchair road race in the US and showed he’s in good form the Boston and London Marathons. And we have a few new faces on the para-tennis front with Bongani Dlamini and Danny Mohlamonyane winning a doubles title in Israel.
These are just a few of our fine showings around the world… more and more are taking place on weekly basis as the Games get closer.


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