Dr Ismail Jakoet, who passed away on Tuesday, has been described as “a great man and servant to South African sport and society”, and a “gentleman” who will be sorely missed. That’s the reaction from the acting chief executive officer of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), Mr Ravi Govender.
In paying tribute, Mr Govender said that the influence of Dr Jakoet extended far beyond the boundaries of South Africa.
“He was respected as a global authority in the field of sports medicine and he played a huge role in helping South Africa become one of the leaders in sports medicine. To simply look at his list of achievements through a glittering CV does not tell half the story. As a human being, as an individual, as a professional, as a family leader and friend, he was an inspiration. He will be sorely missed, celebrated and never forgotten,” Mr Govender said.
Also paying his respects and sadness on hearing the news, SASCOC president Mr Barry Hendricks called Dr Jakoet “a brilliant man who did remarkable work during, and either side of South Africa’s years of apartheid-forced international isolation.”
The president also reflected on his personal link to Dr Jakoet and reflected that “Dr Jakoet was our family’s doctor during his years practicing in Port Elizabeth. I was privileged to be his talented daughter, Amina’s matric biology teacher. He mentored me during the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and contributed to my growth as a sports administrator.
“Dr Jakoet played a big role in the unification process in South African sport,” Mr Hendricks added. “He was a player in his youth, a scrumhalf, and as an administrator his influence and excellence extended far and wide. He was also heavily involved in creating the Petro Jackson Memorial Fund and the merging of that into the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund.”
Dr Jakoet had a career-long involvement in rugby, having qualified as a medical doctor from the University of Cape Town in 1973. His early rugby administration included roles in the Eastern Cape, becoming vice-president of Eastern Province Rugby Union and from 1984 as chairperson of the SA Rugby Union disciplinary committee.
He was the Chief Medical Officer for the 1995 Rugby World Cup hosted by South Africa‚ and also at the 1995 All Africa Games in Harare, Zimbabwe. In 1998 he was CMO for Team SA at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In 1993‚ Dr Jakoet relocated to Cape Town and joined SA Rugby as Medical Manager‚ a position he held for over a decade before he was appointed as Company Secretary in 2006‚ a role he fulfilled until his retirement in 2016. He was also president of the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA‚ from 2005-2007) and served on the Medical Advisory and Anti-Doping committees of the International Rugby Board (World Rugby).
SASCOC would like to extend its heartfelt condolences to wife‚ Yasmin‚ their children‚ grand-children‚ other family and friends. May his soul rest in well-deserved peace.