SA's dismal Olympic display raises funding issues

South Africa’s dismal performance at the Olympic Games highlighted the need for more funding, the country’s Olympic committee said in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

This was the only silver lining to the team’s poor show in Beijing, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Moss Mashishi told journalists.

“It’s a multi-stakeholder issue. We realise that to be world beaters we have to work together with the government, schools and experts and energise the country around what needs to be done.”

He said the depth of the team was “exceptional” and provided a strong base for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

Out of the team of 135 athletes, 57 were a strong prospect for the 2012 Olympics.

“They are very young—between 18 and 24, or 25.”

The key was a sustainable programme to raise the standard of the athletes’ performance.

Mashishi said the government had “a strong desire to see sport succeed in the country”.

He congratulated long jump silver medallist Khotso Mokoena on his achievement.
He won the team’s only medal.

“We are very proud of him and the pressure was tremendously high.”

On Tuesday, Mokoena received a cheque from Absa for R500 000 as part of the bank’s incentive programme.

“I really appreciate it, that’s a lot of money,” said a laughing Mokoena.—Sapa

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