President's Voice – Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

Greetings from Brazzaville, Congo where the African Games are winding up.
It’s certainly been a busy, busy time since the last update.
After the confirmation of the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly,  that South Africa would host the 2022 edition of the Games in Durban, it was time to move on to Samoa to see Team South Africa in action at the Youth Games.
The team did not disappoint and, given the necessary support, they can form the core of the 2022 team in Durban.
There were outstanding performances all round and the National Federations can breathe a sigh of relief.  We still have many outstanding young athletes in the country. The debate should now be who is going to support and guide them.
These athletes belong to the National Federations and they should all be encouraged to design the necessary programmes to work with their junior athletes to ensure that we have constant intake at senior levels from the junior ranks.
We have to build the  next generation of athletes from the good  crop that we have now.
Our national rugby team have left with the the blessings of the country to win the World Cup for the third time and deny New Zealand back to back wins of the Webb Ellis trophy.
We will no doubt be glued to our TV’s watching the tournament.  To Heyneke Meyer and the team we send our best wishes.
Samoa was followed by Congo where our senior athletes took  on the best in Africa in a variety of sport.
The city of Brazzaville is quite an amazing city and the taxi operators fascinated me… although I found the whole set-up scary at first I got to realise that the way they drive is a way of life.
Our athletes paid no attention to the traffic jams and performed well under difficult conditions brought about by the way the Games are being run.
The infrastructure is great in Brazzaville but the continental Confederations must wake up and smell the coffee before it is too late. I expressed the same sentiments after the 2011 Games in Maputo, Mozambique and I will have no hesitation to ask the Board of SASCOC to review the kind of participation we should have in future.
It’s simply not fair to expose our athletes to such below par organisation of the Games. Congratulations must go to the athletes who up up their best performances to win medals for their country. We can assure all our athletes and managers that this matter will be receiving our undivided attention.
A quick glance at the performances here shows that we have some hard work going forward in preparing our athletes for continental as well as international competitions. It is getting harder to remain competitive at this level.
Meanwhile, as I have been on my travels, the SA athletes continue to shine around the world. Great to see is that our rowers have provisionally qualified four boats for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics and that canoeist Bridgitte Hartley should also be back there to try and even improve on that bronze medal she won in London three years ago.
Our Banyana girls lost out on the draw of an envelope in Congo and they can now channel their disappointment into making sure they qualify for Rio as they come up against Equatorial Guinea in a double-header.
Our triathlon code is also looking very, very solid and hats off to Richard Murray for his second WTS victory, in Edmonton, Canada recently.
Our archers medalled at their World Championships and I see some good progress is being made in the dressage discipline of the equestrian code.
One thing’s for sure, our sportsmen and women need to get into that figurative saddle and ride that horse before it bolts as Rio is just around the corner.

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