President's Voice – Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

The newly elected Board of SASCOC wasted no time in setting course for 2020 and planning for what would be of critical importance for SASCOC to improve on the Rio Games performances.

In a two-day workshop the Board members expressed their views on how we can do better in years to come.

What came out clearly is that SASCOC must find a way of better interacting with all its stakeholders to ensure a better understanding of what we stand for.

Too many people think that we must ensure that kids have balls to kick around and that we must provide infrastructure for sport.

We took the blame for not communicating properly and for taking for granted that all people, both in sport and out of sport, have read the Sport and Recreation Plan of 2011.

This government document spells our clearly what we must do as SASCOC.

This document is available on the Sport and Recreation South Africa website so I recommend that people visit the SRSA website and familiarise themselves with how South African sport works.

We will build on what worked for us in the period leading up to the Rio Games. The last four years were characterised by working closely with the targeted National Federations to prepare the best athletes for the Games.

It was not easy at all to get this right because generally Federations in South Africa are poorly resourced and sponsorship is hard to come by.

The load is then shifted to SASCOC with our Operation Excellence (OPEX) which in itself is not well funded if you compare it to international standards. Nevertheless we begged and borrowed here and there to execute our mandate of preparing and presenting Team South Africa at various international Games.

Note that we do this for Team SA and Federations participating at continental and jnternational championships must foot their own bills.

It is this arrangement that weakens our preparation of top athletes because some Federations just cannot afford to be at these championships for various reasons.

As a Board we believe the funding model for sport must be revisited if we are to remain competitive.

Board members have been assigned certain tasks and together with management, a plan is being designed to deal with our challenges.

All our stakeholders will be appraised of the plan and hopefully we can all pull in the same direction to make our sporting nation competitive on the world stage. It is possible because we have enough people who are passionate about sport.

Moving on to the field of play and thankfully there’s always something positive to get excited about.

Team South Africa once again topped the medals table at the biennial AUSC Region 5 Games in Luanda, Angola late last year. These Games often present many challenges but are absolutely invaluable for our youth as they find their way in the international arena.

Our Olympic bronze medal-winning Blitzboks have resumed their Sevens season and surely this is the season they can go all the way and win the World Series?

Congratulations to weightlifter Mona Pretorius who won Commonwealth Championships gold in Malaysia and has since gone on to grab more gold at her new base in Texas, US.

It’s also interesting to see our 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley trying out her hand at river paddling with no small degree of success.

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