President's Voice – Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

We are still recovering from the big disappointment of missing out on hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

There are lessons to be learnt from this setback, and biggest of them all is that world sport politics can be more vicious than the real politics we see around us.

We will have to up our game when it comes to bidding and hosting strategies.

We are no longer the darling country of the early 90s, and a reality check is now necessary.

Meanwhile, the challenges in African sport loom large all the time. After an elective process in Djibouti the results were challenged, and we had to be in Prague during the ANOC to deal with it.

The African NOC’s decided to set the results of Djibouti aside and wait for the outcome of an arbitration process for the Court of Arbitration in Sport to rule on.

While we are dealing with this, the athletes are waiting for funding to prepare for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

We look forward to a speedy resolution of this matter in the interest of sport on the African continent.

After the Chef de Mission’s meeting at the Gold Coast recently, a clearer picture is emerging of what our athletes can expect Down Under.

The Games will be spectacular and the competition will be fierce. Only well-prepared athletes will ascend the podium during these Games, and our athletes are expected to go out there and do well.

The National Federations are helping to put forward the names of athletes who will be part of Team South Africa next year.

Despite the absence through injury of Olympic and world champion Wayde van Niekerk, our athletes are still expected to make a good showing, as are our swimmers. These two codes have traditionally been medal winners at previous versions of our games.

So too our rugby sevens side, who won the World Sevens series earlier this year.

And as this year winds down, there’s time to reflect on the year that has been. Internal matters at SASCOC are being addressed and the Ministerial Committee will soon start its work, and we therefore have a lot to look forward to in the New Year.

It’s fitting to ask the leadership of sport to take a good break and come back in 2018 refreshed as ever to tackle the challenges of a new year.

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