President's Voice – Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

As I began this update it was a few minutes before we were due to pay tribute to Professor Pat Duffy who assisted us with the Coaches Framework in the country.
Thinking about what to say in a tribute, I am reminded about how many people have made it possible for SASCOC to be in the position where we are now.
Men and women from all walks of life have contributed to building the sports movement that we are today.
In that mix, the name of Pat Duffy will always come up as we continue to build a coaching framework for South African sport.
He came to us and in a quiet and professional manner guided many throughout the process of establishing a coaching framework in all corners of the country.
At every workshop or conference of coaches in this country, now, tomorrow or in years to come, the name of Pat Duffy will always be remembered. May his soul find eternal peace, we shall remember him.
The year’s final media briefing at Olympic House underscored what I have been saying for a while now. The neglect of junior sport in this country will create challenges for us in the future.
After the London Olympics we were very confident that we could improve on the six medals we got but after the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, we are really concerned about what will happen in Rio and beyond.
The National Federations are battling to get enough young people into sport because of the many other competing priorities.
Even those who are still hanging in there are finding it difficult because you need to have finances to compete – even at junior levels.
With the Federations not having enough resources, appeals are made to parents to help. But if there is not enough disposal income in a family, participating in sport does not become a priority.
What this all means is that fewer athletes made it onto the OPEX programme.
Again we must say, the area of funding South African sport need urgent attention.
Good news is that our sport heroes and heroines continue to do well on the world stage despite all these challenges.
For me, the current feel-good story is our national soccer side, Bafana Bafana qualifying for AFCON in Equatorial Guinea next year.
Elsewhere, what a pleasure to see Chad le Clos topping the Fina World Cup rankings. This youngster never fails to surprise with the extent of his talent. We are surely banking on him shining in Rio two years down the line.
Judo was a sport that brought back a good few medals from the Commonwealth Games and it was great to see Zack Piontek, Siyabulela Mabulu and DJ le Grange keeping up the winning momentum at the African Open in Mauritius. Well done to archers Sandra Prinsloo and Marco di Matteo for their gold and silver at the continental event up in Egypt.
I was also part of the Momentum 94.7 Challenge cycle event recently and what a pleasure to have top international cyclist Marianne Vos in the race, something which would no doubt have inspired heaps of aspirant riders.
Hats off too, to Juliana Barrett who won bronze for South Africa at the recent Commonwealth fencing championships in Scotland. There were also other excellent performances around the country and the world. Congrats to all of them.

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