President's Voice – Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

We get closer and closer to the Rio Olympics and Paralympics but most recent news is that the recent General Council meeting at Olympic House dealt with a number of exciting matters.
Minister Fikile Mbalula’s emphasis on transformation was a reminder to the Federations that this matter is getting the full attention of the Minister.
An update on how the Federations signed agreements with the Minister will be revealed to us this month.
Another set of Federations will sign agreements with the Minister increasing the number of Federations committed to making transformation work in their Federations. The Minister also reiterated the punitive measures for Federations failing to deliver.
Our role as SASCOC is to support our Federations so that they are at all times compliant.
The Council meeting also considered two presentations.
The one is to see how we can manage talent identification in the run up to 2022. Federations were invited by Technogym to follow up with them to design programmes for talent identification in their areas of operation.
The other presentation dealt with the beginnings of SASCOC TV. This is an exciting development and once again it is up to the Federations to follow up.
We expect to hear from the Federations at our next council meeting how they interacted with the presentations.
Right now all eyes on the national swimming championships in Durban, KZN and the national athletics championships in Stellenbosch, Western Cape. Both should give us some indication of where we are in these two sports ahead of Rio.
At the time of writing it was great to see that after just two days of swimming we’d already seen six Olympic and eight Paralympic qualifying times with a lot more to come, I’m sure… exciting times.
Just last weekend it was great to see judoka Zack Piontek winning silver at the African Championships to earn more valuable ranking points and further north Anel Oosthuizen broke an SA 20km race-walking record in Europe and bettered the Olympic qualifying time.
Congrats to my fellow Eastern Cape product, Lusapho April for winning his third Hannover Marathon in Germany, also inside the Olympic qualifying benchmark.
And lets not forget that our para-athletes had a hugely successful national championships, which also shows we are on the right track for Rio later this year. Particularly exciting is this new young kid on the block, Ntando Mahlangu who looks set to star for years to come.
Our wheelchair tennis stars also got some good practise in for Rio with two recent tournaments on home soil.
And, lest I forget, congrats to the new Springbok rugby coach, Allister Coetzee. Here’s hoping he takes the Springboks upwards and onwards.