Team SA scores Proctor & Gamble partnership

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) is expected to announce a partnership with consumer products company Procter & Gamble in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

This follows Sascoc president Gideon Sam’s plea for corporates to give financial support to Team South Africa months before the London Olympic Games.

“I know we rely largely on the Lotto for funding and I’m appealing to them to be more accommodating at this vital time in our sporting calendar,” Sam said at a Olympic Games briefing last month.

Procter & Gamble is also a partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from the London Games over the next five Olympic Games.

“Even if it was R100 000 the most important part as we stand now is that any assistance is appreciated and we are very excited about it,” Sam said on Monday.

“It goes to assisting athletes and ensures that every athlete gets a fair deal … Procter & Gamble’s assistance come at the right time, and it’s the right thing to happen to our athletes and hopefully we can make a string of small announcements.”

Short-term solution
Sam said it was unlikely that Sascoc would be able to clinch a premier sponsor for the long term, but the money they received would enable athletes to travel abroad and locally in their pursuit of securing qualifying standards.

Sascoc has spent R36-million on the Operation Excellence Programme and a further R24-million was due to be spent by the completion of the Games.

The sporting body has in recent years relied heavily on the National Lottery Fund to support athletes with R400-million spent over the past three years.

This was already a massive increase from the R90-million the team received for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Sascoc also secured a technical gear sponsor of R25-million with Chinese clothing company Erke, who will be Team South Africa’s official supplier of generic sport and competitive gear through to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Sam said it was encouraging to see the athletes turning up the heat in qualifying for the Games, and he expected a team of between 120 and 140 for the Games in July.

This is almost half as many athletes South Africa sent to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

High standards
It is more than was initially expected despite stringent qualifying standards set by Sascoc.

The South African team returned with one medal — the long jump silver by Khotso Mokoena — and Sascoc subsequently set a medal target of 12 for this year’s Games.

“Still we have to give support to the men’s hockey team and we can see the athletes are turning up and opening the taps and we want to support everyone,” said Sam.

He said the athletes responded positively after Sascoc said they would not be taking any passengers to London.

“Looking at cycling at the SA National Road Cycling and Time Trial Championships in Mpumalanga at the weekend — they are all aiming to qualify.

“If you are there [Olympic Games] and if you qualified in the correct way anything can happen and I am excited and happy to see athletes took up the challenge.” — Sapa

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