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The President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

The search for new talent to be added to Team South Africa’s medal winners of Rio is seriously underway.

Our National Federations are engaging our various teams at SASCOC to put forward their plan for the road to Tokyo and the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Planning forms a critical part in the preparation for the all the Games in this quadrennial and it must never be said that the South African teams were under-prepared when we know what is coming our way.

Our athletes will sit down with their coaches and work on these plans and come to SASCOC to present their plans.

We prefer having something to work with although of course there may be changes to the plans.

The athletes who will be in the squad system going forward will get the necessary support to fulfil their obligations on the international circuit. It’s also important to note that together with the National Federations we will prioritise medal contenders and then look deeper into the Federations for more talent.

We have to do this because of the fact that resources are not easy to come by, but we are not going to lie down and cry over scarce resources because we will have teams on the international circuit and we must support wherever we can.

Another focus area will be the coaches. These unsung heroes and heroines go about their task with not much compensation. It is the opinion of SASCOC that coaches should be better looked after as they work side by side with the athletes.

I’m sure you have heard of countries wanting to poach our coaches but those truly committed to this country have turned down lucrative offers.

We really must give thanks to such committed citizens but also bear in mind that they too have responsibilities to fulfil. The Coaching Commission at SASCOC will look into all these matters and make recommendations to the Board.

I’m also pleased to report that we are making progress with the South African National Defence Force in crafting the kind of assistance that they will give to a few selected National Federations during this period.

By forming partnerships we hope to lessen the burden on both Federations and SASCOC. The plans tabled by the High Performance Commission also show how they are going to forge a closer relationship with the universities as has been the case in the past.

A special appeal will be made to the Vice Chancellors at our universities to see how with their limited resources they too can make a contribution to our task ahead of Tokyo.

On the field of play it’s great to see the Blitzboks sweeping all before them in Las Vegas and all being well, they are looking like they could win the Series this year.

And hats off to our Amajita U20 men’s soccer booking their spot in the U20 World Cup in South Korea later this year.

On the track we had Rio Olympians Akani Simbine and Clarence Munyai getting their sprint seasons off with a bang.

What is also good to note is that SASCOC have many, many other Federations under their wing, apart from the so-called high profile codes. Let’s recognise the great honour that Mayanzeke Shweni and Bangani Joel brought to South Africa by winning gold medals at the World Sheep Shearing Championships in New Zealand.


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