President's Voice – Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

The main tasks at SASCOC right now are the interactions taking place with the various Federations in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Rest assured however, that preparations for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, next year are being finalised.

Some national federations already know who their athletes are, while others still have to qualify.

We expect a big team because a larger number of athletes are qualifying these days and the qualifying criteria are no longer an issue, because athletes and teams are making the grade.

We believe that we can improve on our performances of Glasgow, Scotland, three years ago and our target is a top five finish.

Team SA have always been in the top five, but unfortunately we did not make it in Glasgow.

The support for athletes who have qualified for OPEX (Operation Excellence) is there, and other resources available to us are being utilised to support athletes.

The  high performance team, led by Dr Debbie Alexander and ably assisted by Ezera Tshabunug and Leon Fleiser, have developed the strategy for the period leading up to 2020, and are sharing it with the Federations.

At a coaching level, the legislation that will legitimise the coaches association of South Africa (CASA) has not yet been finalised, but the coaches continue to prepare for the launch of CASA.

Programmes to raise the level of coaching in South Africa remain a serious focus of the organisation. With funds available from SRSA, this department within SASCOC continues to run workshops and seminars, working with the National Federations.

The relationship with Da Vinci University to upgrade our coaches at a higher level remains intact.

At the horizon there’s a battle looming for the leadership of ANOCA when the National Olympic Committees meet in Prague in the Czech Republic early in November.

The dispute concerns the unhappiness of NOC’s, following the ANOCA council meeting in Djibouti, Senegal. But hopefully sanity will prevail and preparations for the Africa Games will start in all seriousness. The continent has a lot of work to do to establish viable structures and that should be the focus.

Meanwhile, other challenges at SASCOC are ongoing and both sets of lawyers are working towards resolving the matter soonest.

On the field of play, well done to our Protea cricketers for wrapping up the Test series against Bangladesh, and all credit to the Springbok rugby side who bounced back from that Albany nightmare to run the mighty All Blacks desperately close at Newlands, where they lost by just one point.

Staying with team sport, and well done to Banyana Banyana for winning the Cosafa Women’s Championships in Zimbabwe, and for Basetsana for getting ever closer to the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup.

Our swimmers, meanwhile, are faring well at the World Cups, and apart from the usual medal-winners like Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh, it was good to see Ayrton Sweeney win his first international gold medal in Hong Kong.

Staying in the water, and our canoeists were excellent at the recent World Marathon Championships on home ‘turf’ in Pietermaritzburg, KZN. Well done to that ‘veteran’ Hank McGregor, and well done to Alex Masina, who is our first black paddler to win an international marathon medal.

And huge, huge congratulations to Kirsten McCann for making us so proud by winning her first World Championships gold medal by winning the single skulls in Florida, US, recently.

Sticking to the girls, and our gymnasts did very well at World Championships in Canada… hats off to Claudia Cummins and Naveen Daries for giving SA our best performance at a World Championships to date, ending 34th and 39th respectively.

We also have some young archers campaigning in Argentina at Cadet World Championships, so we’ll keep an eagle eye on them.

Yes, we have have our ongoing problems in the world of sport, but we continue to support and encourage our athletes around the globe, each and every step of the way.

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