It was heartbreaking to see the Springboks being beaten by Australia in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
I┬á was privileged to have the opportunity to go to New Zealand and put our weight as SASCOC behind the Springboks in action. I visited South Africa’s own Ekhaya “home away from home” experience in New Zealand and it was a great opportunity to both relax a bit and also get in some valuable networking in the sporting fraternity.
It was my second Ekhaya experience in recent weeks as I was also in Maputo, Mozambique for the All Africa Games where we also had an Ekhaya, hugely appreciated by our South African athletes and businessmen.
What was also hugely appreciated by SASCOC were the efforts made by the South African athletes. There’s no doubting that conditions and circumstances during the games were trying and for them to top the medals table by such a margin was an excellent performance. Athletes and management can all pat themselves on the back. Now we need to ensure that we stay in that position at the next All Africa Games in 2015. I must also congratulate the organisers in Maputo for doing a great job even though they had basically 18 months to organise and even though there were a few challenges.
I also popped in to the Isle of Man after Maputo and again it was encouraging to see our athletes improve on their performance from the last Commonwealth Games in Pune, India where they ended fourth in 2008. This time we nabbed third place so again, kudos are in order, especially since we were second to England and Australia and they are allocated a greater number of athletes by the Commonwealth Games Federation.
After the Isle of Man I went off to Geneva, Switzerland for the International Olympic Committee Commission for Culture and Education where we got through some more valuable work. I was fortunate to be nominated onto this commission of the IOC by the IOC President Dr. Rogge, which came immediately after our successful hosting of this session on education and culture in December in Durban 2010.
And then it was eastwards to Sri Lanka on a site visit for that country’s bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games and that was also a very rewarding experience. It was indeed very encouraging to see the development in this country post their turbulent years of strife and war. The concept of the bid utilising the opportunity through sport to build the nation is actually quite remarkable.
You would also be interested to know that Ms. Jean Kelly has been successful in securing the new position of Executive Manager in the Office of the CEO. I am confident that she will alleviate some of the pressures from my shoulders so that I can concentrate on more strategic issues of the organisation.