President's Voice – Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

Watching what is happening around the SASCOC organisation, one cannot help but think how much is being done to keep the wheels of the organisation turning.
With the Commonwealth Games General Assembly being held in Auckland in September the team has to ensure that all the Bid documents are in place.
It may be a one-horse race, but we still need the full approval of the General Assembly for the official go-ahead.
Just suppose there are countries who do not like the suggested sports programmes for instance, no track cycling, and then they start debate on some of the sporst included, then we may become unstuck.
This is very unlikely though, but just goes to show that nothing is being taken for granted until the outcome of the General Assembly decision.
Next year we have the Rio Olympics and we are targeting 10 medals. The High Performance department is in constant communication with the Federations to ensure that the athletes on the OPEX programme are closely monitored. The truth of the matter of course is that we do not have many athletes on the programme considering when we compare to what we used to have in the past.
Every athlete out there is being watched with a keen eye. A report of even a slight injury or cough in an athlete, really rattles the High Performance department.
The questions being asked is how do we strike a balance between over competing and the reality which is that the athlete must make some money on the circuit.
This is an on-going debate and will only stop when we as a country can look after the athletes at the high performance level and the provinces and districts are able to take care of carefully designed development programmes.
We still have a number of Federations taking up a lot of the time of our managers. The misunderstandings in Federations continue to be a challenge, making focusing on the real business of sport quite a challenge.The interpretation of their own constitutions seems to create all these infighting.
I really hope we can get to a point where we can just get on with doing the business of sport administration and doing away with all these lawyers’ letters that we must deal with.
Right now our juniors preparing for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa and the seniors going to Brazzaville, Congo and the many qualifiers need all our attention and not these unnecessary disputes.
On the field of play, I’m holding thumbs that Neil Powell’s Blitzboks bounce back from what was a disappointing Glasgow showing last weekend, especially when one thinks back to August last year and that Commonwealth Games gold.
London is the last leg of the series… lets get the whole nation behind them as they try to top the standings for the second time since 2008/09 season.
Banyana Banyana are heading off to Gabon to begin their long Olympic qualifying campaign and our triathletes are also intent on racking up points in the Olympic qualifying year period. Well done to Henri Schoeman and Gill Sanders on winning another African title in Egypt. In China our badminton players are at the Sudirman Cup, on the same crusade to Rio.
Back to Africa and James Reid and Bianca Haw were crowned continental champions in mountain biking… here again, more chasing of qualifying points. On to Europe and Olympic bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley and her fellow canoeists are on the European circuit now.
And it would be remiss of me not to give Hank McGregor a big thumbs-up for being named Sportsman of the Year at the World Paddle Awards. So it’s not a question of us not having good sportsmen and women. We are blessed with plenty of talent.

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