By Gareth Duncan
South African Olympic stars Cameron van der Burgh and Lawrence Ndlovu both laud SASCOC’s coaching framework and believe it will inspire more ‘homegrown medalists’.
Van der Burgh (who won gold and set a new world record in the 100m breaststroke) and Ndlovu (who was part of the four-man rowing team that won the men’s lightweight coxless event) both spoke on the opening day of the second annual coaching framework. They shared their preparation process over the last four years and experiences during and after the 2012 Olympics in London.
Both athletes believed the coaching framework would do wonders for South African sport.
‘In the past, our athletes believed they needed to go overseas for training in order to be successful at the Olympics,’ Van der Burgh told RoadtoRio.co.za. ‘But if you look at this year’s team, most of our athletes were based in South Africa, proving that you can get quality coaching and the necessary resources at home.
‘This coaching conference initiative will help improve our standards of coaching at all levels. This will produce more world-class athletes and encourage them to stay in South Africa.’
Ndlovu said the coaching framework could help athletes become coaches once they retire.
‘Since the Olympics, I’ve been told too many school kids are applying for rowing. That’s a first for South African rowing and great sign for the sport’s future,’ Ndlovu also told this site. ‘Because of that, we need to retain the experience and knowledge of competing at the highest levels in the country.
‘One way of doing that is for athletes to become coaches. For me, it would be great to teach young and upcoming athletes and help with their development.’
Van der Burgh added that South Africa’s successful athletes need to get involved with South Africa’s youth.
‘It’s one thing for a younger athlete to idolise their hero. But once they actually meet their hero, they are inspired even more,’ said Van der Burgh. ‘I remember listening to Penny Heyns when I was younger and meeting her. It was a memorable moment for me and it helped me become more determined.
‘I’ve been traveling all around the country since the Olympics, visiting schools and swimming academies. I hope I can inspire them like Penny inspired me.
‘And with coaching in South Africa set to improve with these kind of coaching framework initiatives, we will grow as a sporting nation.’