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President’s Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam

The big story this week is undoubtedly that of the men’s hockey team qualifying in Japan for the London Olympics later this year.

Of just as much interest are the comments following this qualification. There are those who feel that we are unnecessarily harsh with our qualification criteria, but there also those who feel that it has helped the athletes and teams tremendously to set their own goals for the Olympics.

The debate will now rage on as it always has and always will, but from a SASCOC perspective we are happy for all the athletes and teams that have made the mark. It is now up to the federations to design their own competitions for the next quadrennial in such a way that it is aligned to the criteria that will be set for Rio 2016.

We cannot look backwards now. We must look for ways and means to raise the bar for our athletes to strive for. The criteria for the next quadrennial will be discussed at the Presidents’ Council set down for this weeked in Johannesburg. We should leave this Council meeting with clear ideas of where we want to be in the next four to eight years as far as our athletes’ performances are concerned.

Of course the athletes need coaches and the Coaching Framework process has made tremendous strides since the launch. The team is ready now to go on a road show to help the provinces set up their own Coaching Commissions. The first three provinces will be KwaZulu-Natal; Eastern Cape and Gauteng and stakeholders across these provinces will be involved in these road shows.

We want to go to the next coaching congress towards the end of the year with fresh ideas that we would have picked up on these road shows. In this regard I can mention that the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) and the South African Football Coaches’ Association (SAFCA) are two structures that will work with us on this project.

It is in our interest to have such structures on board because we need to get school sport up and running as without coaches on the ground, we will struggle to develop sport at the lower end of the spectrum.

The IOC Sport and Environment Commission met in Laussanne recently and the role that sport must play in preserving the environment was again high on the agenda. There is some urgency in this matter and NOC are working hard to sensitise their federations to take up this matter in all seriousness now with Rio +20 coming up in June. Our Commission here in South Africa has set three key dates to deal with some of these environmental issues.

These dates are: World Environment Day (5 June); National Arbor Week (1-7 September) and World Habitat Day (4 October). All are key events that will be driven by the SASCOC Sport and Environment Commission.