The Fifa Soccer World Cup is over and we as South Africans will be wondering what hit us!┬áAfter waiting for many so┬áyears since the announcement that we would host the 2010 edition of the World Cup, we have finally done and dusted it.
And the verdict from those who came to share the occasion with us is overwhelming.┬áFrom all accounts they say that we as South Africans have a lot to be proud about. We delivered what we said we would deliver and the Fifa hierachy┬áhave┬ánot┬á been left dissapointed.
The big question now is: where do we go from here?┬áAs a country we are riding the crest of the wave and we are keen to show off more because for us, this was just the beginning. I think the expression goes: “If you can dream it, you can do it”.┬á Let’s not be shy to dream about the bigger things that we can do with South African sport.
After all we are champions in many sports; some almost known, some unknown. We have been given the infrastructure by our government and we dare not let it stand empty to be vandalised. Dream South Africa, dream!
Further good news during our period of euphoria was the good news that Caster Semenya can carry on with her running career.┬áWe want to thank all those who supported her during her trying times. Now we must encourage her to build her career and enjoy her running. We are confident she and her coach will plan for future races that she will appear at.┬áWe wish her well and she can be assured of our support.
I recently attended a Sport and the Environment Commission of the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland. The IOC. in collaboration with the United Nations. are taking matters around the┬ápreservation of the environment very seriously and calling on all NOC’s to do their bit. There are programmes being driven by federations and we at SASCOC will be taking up this matter more vigorously in future.
At our September council meeting in Bloemfontein we will appeal to all our federations to register their programmes that they may be involved with in order for us to report at the Nairobi┬áSession on Sport and the Environment what we do as the NOC. We will be issuing a media statement on all our plans shortly.
It was also inspiring to spend time with the leadership of Special Olympics, international and national. The work they do for athletes who are “intellectually different”, as Dr Matthews Phosa, refers to these athletes, is amazing. The inclusion of these athletes into all the structures of civil society gives credence to what the sports movement has been saying for many years that; inclusion and respect for differences are key to encouraging social cohesion in any country.
We will continue to engage Special Olympics to ensure that they work within our structures so that all of us in sport can do more for athletes with different intellectual abilities.
This month and next month will see us focus more on our athletes who will represent us at the Commonwealth Games of Delhi.┬áWe are confident that they will do well and do this country proud.
The Commonwealth Games will be preceded by the Youth Olympic Games in August in Singapore. We have announced the team and all the members are busy preparing themselves for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Those with vision will grab this opportunity to compete against juniors from other countries with both hands. We congratulate them and thank their parents for what they are doing for the future stars of this country.