After three days of intense debate and planning, the SASCOC Board has settled on the key performance areas for the organisation in the current Olympic┬áquadrennial.
At the top of the pile is the pursuance of top performances for all multi-coded sports teams representing South Africa.
To achieve this, the OPEX programme will receive more attention and funding. Tied to this will be better assistance to our coaches working with our High Performance athletes.
With the focus on athletes and coaches we want to make a strong statement that excuses for poor performances will a thing of the past. Board members and management believe strongly that the programme followed in the last quadrennial can be improved with more resources made available to the athletes and coaches.
The programme as it will unfold in the years leading up to the Olympic Games in Rio will be made public in a media briefing early in May. For now the nuts and bolts of the total programme which is an extension of the last four years are being put in place.
To achieve this we are going to require better funding and the Board felt that we should approach the Minister for Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikile Mbalula, to once again consider the plight of the athletes in the OPEX programme.
The good news is that the Lotteries Board has indicated strongly their willingness to support SASCOC achieve the national goals set clearly in the Sport and Recreation Plan following the Indaba of 2011.
Our campaign to raise additional funding has also kicked in and the roadshows to the provinces have brought us closer to the MEC’s. Those that we have met are willing to lend a hand in also supporting athletes in the OPEX programme, resident in their respective provinces. This is something that we did not have in the run-up to London. Together with the SANDF we believe we can prepare all our athletes better for the upcoming multi coded continental and international competitions.
With the launch of the National Training Centre being planned for April, our determination to assist our athletes is in no doubt. Provincial Academies will also come online and all our top performers in the various sports will be able to receive support in their provinces.
All that needs to happen now is for our National Federations to communicate better with the provincial structures about the programmes available at SASCOC. We do talk about these programmes at our Council meetings and Presidents’ Council meetings, but during our roadshows to the provinces it became evident that the provinces are not aware of most of the things that we do.
There is a useful publication available that Federations can use to reach their affiliates in the provinces and districts called SENSE. To get more information about this publication contact Rod at [email protected] or 082 965-5826 and he will gladly assist, ┬áespecially the smaller federations.
It is vital to keep the structures and role players of your sport informed. There will be more information sharing sessions at our upcoming Council meeting scheduled for 13 April and I look forward to seeing you all there.
Meanwhile on the sporting fields we’ve, as usual, had mixed fortunes. Our Blitzbok rugby sevens side are experiencing ups and downs on the world circuit and they will be all too aware of the growing pressure that will come ahead of Rio 2016. It was good to see Athletics South Africa managing to send a team over to the World Cross Country Championships in Poland and although the results weren’t that great, the team got valuable experience of a foreign country and very unfamiliar racing conditions.
It was also great to see the winners of the Cape Epic cycle race dedicating their win to our late Olympian mountain bike ace Burry Stander and it would certainly appear that he leaves a lasting legacy for our up and coming cyclists to aspire to.