By Gareth Duncan
SASCOC launched their second annual coaching conference on Friday.
SASCOC, with the support of the Department of Sports and Recreation, started the initiative in July 2011. It is focused on the development of coaching at all levels in South African sport, which should improve and increase the development of elite athletes.
National and provincial sporting federations were all in attendance, with a clear growth in the numbers compared to last year’s showing. There were over 900 registered delegates.
Gideon Sam, president of South Africa’s Olympic body, emphasised the importance of this project.
‘We can’t be at the top of the sporting world without good coaching,’ said Sam. ‘To achieve success, we need elite athletes and top coaches. We started the process, now we need to build on it.’
Team South Africa’s performances at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games set the theme during the opening day talks.
‘We won six medals in London. We can’t win six medals in Rio ÔÇô we need to win more,’ added Sam. ‘We can’t be static. We need to grow, and our coaches form an important cog in the progress we need to make over the next four years and beyond.’
Those who were part of day one’s talks were national swimming hero Cameron van der Burgh and rower Lawrence Ndlovu (who won gold in their respective Olympic codes), and five-time Paralympic medallist Hilton Langenhoven and his coach Suzanne Ferreira.
IOC Executive Board member Sam Ramsamy and Deputy minister of sport Gert Oosthuizen also expressed their views, while there were also reports on Team South Africa’s preparation, experience and overall stay in London.
‘It’s been a year since the first coaching framework and the Sports Indaba,’ said Oosthuizen. ‘Both programmes are vital in the growth of sports and recreation in South Africa and setting the guidelines.
‘These are the platforms that will encourage participation and performance and promote and encourage sports development. The coaching framework has the full support of the government.
‘It’s an important initiative as we live in an active and winning nation. We want to build champions.’
The conference will continue on Saturday and Sunday, where the likes of sports minister Fikile Mbalula, high-profile sports professors and national Olympic coaches will all form part of the presentations and discussions.
‘This is all very exciting,’ said SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy. ‘We will launch a few initiatives, including academies, over the weekend. These are all vital steps as we prepare for Rio 2016. It’s very encouraging to see the will to build on the coaching framework launched in 2011.’