By now I’m sure it sounds pretty familiar but it’s been another hectic period for both me and SASCOC recently.
The last weekend in January I had the opportunity to attend the International Swim Meet in Port Elizabeth to see how our potential Olympic swimmers were shaping up against some tough competition from all around the world. It pleases me to say that it looks like Swimming South Africa is on track and the appointment of Graham Hill as the National Coach will go a long way in monitoring the activities of the swimmers and their coaches.
The SSA president, Mr. Jace Naidoo, is determined to reverse the poor performances of Beijing where we didn’t get a single medal and the programming of the activities of Swimming South Africa is all geared up to deliver medals in London. It was also noteworthy to see the efforts being put in by the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to improve the swimming facilities in the area. Sure, there remains some work to be done to get the Newton Park facility up to to international standards, but a start has been made and that’s the important thing.
The first combined media briefing between SRSA and SASCOC was held here at Olympic House last week and Minister Fikile Mbalula reiterated his stance on a number of issues that we in the sports movement must take note of. Transformation in South African sport will get some new impetus and by the time we get to the Sports Indaba, South Africans would have had an opportunity to provice input in a discussion document. The idea is to deal with the issues of transformation in South African sport once and for all and to get consensus of all the fundamental matters.
I’m also excited to say that at long last the issue of school sport has been put firmly on the national agenda. There will be no frills about it, but simply the process of allowing schools to be part of leagues on Wednesday.
We at SASCOC are delighted with this move because high performance sport can only come to its own if we as a country have a solid school sport system. We most certainly join the Minister in calling on all our member federations to ensure that schools play their sport on Wednesdays. Like Magnificent Friday for firstly soccer and now lately cricket, let Wednesdays be different from March onwards and let the federations be central to this programme. These are exciting times so let’s bring back the joy of going to school and having fun on the sports grounds after studies are complete.
The Operation Excellence programme will shift a gear in 2011 with more emphasis on monitoring. The coaches together with the Science and Medical Unit at SASCOC will be keeping a hawk’s eye on every athlete on the OPEX programme to ensure that our performances at the Olympics and Paralympics are not left to chance.
My office will henceforth resemble a war room and all involved in the project will know that only our best support services will be at the disposable of all our athletes. We call on all interested parties to come forward and make this project the most successful in the history of this country. We are convinced that together we can bring back more medals from London.