President's Voice – Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

Prof Frank Dick, SASCOC’s advisor on the High Performance Programme and Ezera Tshabangu, our General Manager: High Performance Department, are hard at work interviewing athletes and  coaches in preparation for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics next year as well as beyond for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
We have come to realise that the National Federations are in need of help to establish their own High Performance Units. The amount of cooperation needed in this project is huge because we tend to lose a number of talented athletes after international participation in junior events.
We simply can’t afford to overlook this trend because it will leave us scratching the barrel to find talent for our international campaigns. The interviews being conducted now are part of a process that started after the London Olympics when through Operation Excellence ( OPEX) athletes were identified to be given additional support for their preparations for London and any other international participation.
With literally months left before Rio it is time to intensify the monitoring of all our top athletes.
We have seen the performances in this quadrennial thus far of both juniors and seniors and we are convinced that we have a lot of talent in our Federations and that we must find a structured way of keeping them supported within their Federations.
But this is easier said than done because of the many challenges facing our Federations. These challenges were again raised in our recent Annual General Meeting where it once again was made very clear that the Federations are battling to keep head above water because of a lack of sponsorship for Federations outside the big four codes of rugby, soccer, cricket and golf.
Though it may be tough, we continue to push for a better dispensation for sport in our country.
Recent performances of our men and women on the sporting circuit here and abroad continue to encourage us that we are on the right track with our development efforts of all athletes.
Cameron van der Burgh continues to churn out the medals on the FINA World Cup circuit and it was good to see another London Olympics decathlete Willem Coertzen, ending off his year with a good victory in Europe. In badminton Wiaan Viljoen and Andries Malan built on their African Games gold with more gold at the Ethiopian International in Addis Ababa.
It’s also always nice to see the so-called ‘minor’ codes pulling their weight, and Tanya Seymour rode her way to a provisional place in Rio with a great dressage performance in Germany recently.
Here’s wishing Banyana Banyana well in the second leg of their Olympic qualifier in far away Equatorial Guinea. But Janine van Wyk and her girls are used to travelling the far corners of the continent and being ‘away’ shouldn’t deter them from pushing for that place in Rio.
On the rugby field we continue to follow the Boks as they put us through a roller coaster of emotions and here’s hoping that loss against Japan will be their only loss of the World Cup!
And let me not forget to say well done to Richard Murray. This Olympic triathlete has come on in leaps and bounds since London and as his year winds down has stood on the podium in his last four events, an incredible, inspiring saga.
Last of all, I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing our hard-working CEO, Mr Tubby Reddy, a speedy recovery from illness and here’s hoping he’s back in the hot seat again soon as we get closer to Rio.

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