The only conclusion one can come to after five days of watching our team at the Youth Olympic Games here in Nanjing is that we neglect youth development in and through sport at our own peril.
Granted, these youngsters qualified through the 2nd African Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana, but we still have to ask many questions.
I have long maintained, and continue to do so, that the disjuncture between national and provincial sport is not healthy. Add to this the poor sports programmes in poorly resourced schools and the writing is on the wall for South African sport.
My view is that inter-provincial sport must get more attention. It must all start with demands being made on the 52/54 districts and metros to have proper teams in the codes that are priority to them. Through this way we will identify the need for coaches and technical officials for the country at an early stage.
Another reality that we must face is that Africa is not the proper gauge for our performances in certain sport. We dominate swimming on the continent and codes like hockey seldom get good opposition on the continent.
What does that say about the criteria we set for inclusion into multi-coded teams representing us?
We will sit down with the Federations over the coming weeks to allow them to once again share their views about what is hampering junior development within their Federations.
The performances in Nanjing must be seen as an opportunity for all of us to think again about how we do things. The Road to Rio is definitely going to be interesting …