President's Voice – Gideon Sam | TeamSA - TeamSA

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

Welcome to 2016 and the busiest year of this four-year sporting cycle.
With less than 200 days to the opening ceremony in Rio, it’s no secret that we have our work cut out for the remaining days.
So many aspects of preparing and presenting teams for and to the Olympic as well as the Paralympic Games come under scrutiny.
One can never really be satisfied with what one’s been doing since returning from the London Olympic Games. And uppermost in our minds is whether we can show a significant improvement in our performance to better those six medals of London.
One thing’s for sure though that when we look at what has happened over the period since we started preparing for Rio, we are confident that the National Federations have put in significant hard work to show improvements in our performances. If not we will have to call our development programmes in sport into question.
A number of seasoned Olympians have since given way for the younger generation.
Veteran Roland Schoeman is one name that comes to mind and in all probability will not vie for a spot in the swimming team.
But exciting young talent has been unearthed by the Federations and on the big stage they will announce their arrival with a bang and the world will hopefully take notice of them.
Ayrton Sweeney was the new boy on the SA swim team at World Championships in 2015 so lets hope he can continue the step up to the biggest stage of all.
On the athletics front all the talk is on another youngster in the shape of 2015 world 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk and it’s wonderful to see that he has a very calm head on those shoulders since winning in Beijing last year.
Talking of youth and how nice it is to see the men’s Under-23 team making the grade, the first time that they’ve managed to qualify for the Olympics since Sydney 2000. More evidence of our youth making the grade. There’s also some very exciting young rowing and sailing talent coming up through the ranks who will hopefully be on show in Rio later this year.