Mbalula wants a passionate Olympic team

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula on Friday said money did not define success at the Olympic Games, but rather a spirit of determination and drive by South African athletes.

Mbalula was speaking in Sandton, Johannesburg at the announcement of funding to be made available for the South African Olympic team.

“Spirit, courage, resilience and loyalty to South Africa is what will win medals at the end of the day,” Mbalula said.

“Money does not define the spirit of a winning nation, but the belief of our athletes that they can succeed in London.”

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) received a combined total of over R100-million from the sports department and the National Lottery Board (NLB).

The Lottery Board, represented by its chairperson, Alfred Nevhutanda, announced a contribution of R73.8-million to Sascoc in preparation for the games.

Mbalula said government thanked the NLB for its support of Sascoc and were grateful for its cash injection ahead of the games.

“We would like to thank the Lottery Board for its sustained commitment towards Sports and Recreation [South Africa], and their support in making this dream possible for so many of our athletes,” Mbalula said.

Nevhutanda was thanked for his efforts in securing the money for the athletes, marking 125 days to the start of the sporting spectacle.

The chairperson said he was proud to be affiliated with Sascoc and the growing awareness for the athletes who did not benefit from budgets enjoyed by countries such as Australia, the US and Great Britain.

“Our relationship [with Sascoc] is simple. We ask ourselves: are they doing the right thing? If so, we have a duty to support Sascoc,” Nevhutanda said.

“We don’t just sit down and say we should give them so much, we are serious on the branding and we believe we are one of the largest funders for Sascoc. Therefore our contribution should reflect what we believe the team is capable of.”

The government has contributed R34.2-million to Sascoc in preparation for the Games.
Sascoc received R26.2-million, with the remainder given to various sports federations.

The South African Football Association got R3-million, Swimming South Africa R2-million, and South African Hockey, Athletics South Africa, and the Paralympic team R1-million each.

Mbalula said the government had offered its unwavering support to the South African Olympic team. Sascoc also received R73.8-million from the National Lottery Board.—Sapa

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