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President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

The talk of the town in sporting circles this week has definitely been the punitive measures imposed by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula on some of our Federations.
Announcing the results of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG),  better known as the Transformation Commission, the Minister expressed his unhappiness with the results of some Federations who agreed, in a Memorandum of Agreement with him, to raise the bar when it comes to transformation within their Federations.
The representatives of the Federations who attended the meeting agreed with the findings of the EPG and promised to show improvement in the next report which should be around November.
The reactions to the announcement by the minister that he is suspending any hosting or bidding for events by these Federations, were varied, once again showing how divided we are on certain issues impacting on South African society. There were those calling for the sacking of the minister and those who felt it was long overdue because transformation is not seen as a priority matter in some Federations.
We shall await the outcome of the November report on the scorecard of these Federations and others who have also entered into an agreement with the minister to speed up transformation in sport. The jury is still out there.
We now have less than a hundred days to go before the starter’s gun goes off in Rio.  We are quietly confident that we have done our homework since London 2012 and look forward to great performances by our athletes. There is still time to qualify and we will encourage those on the circuit chasing that important spot to be in Rio, to do their best.
Their Federations and SASCOC will give them the necessary support all the way.
Meanwhile our athletes continue their build-up to Rio and Henri Schoeman’s sixth place at the Discovery World Triathlon in Cape Town on Sunday was impressive, given that he’s on the comeback after a knee injury. Ditto for Mari Rabie who continues to impress after a worrying 2014 where she had some serious heart problems.
A few of our para-swimmers were in Brazil recently where they got some good results and our para-rowers brought back medals from Gavirate in Italy so that’s looking very encouraging. Ernst van Dyk also still managed to get a solid fourth in the London Marathon despite technical issues.
Also at the London Marathon, Irvette van Blerk ran an excellent qualifying time for Rio.
Our young gymnasts also won a pair of medals in Bulgaria so while the media focus has been on the EPG report our athletes have still been going about the business of proudly flying the SA flag.


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