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23 Oct 2012 20:20
Sascoc president Gideon Sam. (Gallo)
President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), Gideon Sam was briefing the parliamentary portfolio committee on sports and recreation on Tuesday.
When asked by the Democratic Alliance MP Winston Rabotapi to explain his comments at the OR Tambo Airport about Sascoc being on a "sound financial footing", Sam interjected, "Public consumption," in jest, as Rabotapi continued with the question.
Sam then responded: "No, we don't have cash. We are battling.
It's just that we didn't want to create a scene at the airport.
He continued: "When you get to that place, you sort of ... you know, I mean you are all politicians. Siyazigquma izinto [we cover-up things], we don't pa ha [reveal] in public. We get together in a corner and talk about these things."
Sam was in Parliament to report back on the country's performance at the London Olympic Games in July and August.
The Olympic team came home with six medals from four sporting codes, while the Paralympians returned with 29 from three sporting codes.
MPs wanted to know what went wrong with the target of 12 that Sascoc had promised prior to the Games.
Sam provided a number of excuses.
"An athlete of the calibre of Kgotso [Mokoena] can't have four no jumps, that's unnatural. It is just that on that day things didn't go for him," said Sam.
"Sunette is one of our best, but on that day it didn't click for her. If you look at the distance she qualified on ... The same for Sifiso [Nhlapo]. I told him I don't think you were right mentally on that day."
Sam added: "In cycling you can't be a lone wolf, there must be somebody to fight with you. Unfortunately for Burry [Stander], there was not enough. They need two or three people to fight with Burry and Burry would have been there."
Sam said when he targeted 12 medals, he wasn't far off.
"If we picked up those four we would have been at 10," he said, as MPs broke out in giggles.
Sam admitted that there was still a lot of work to be done.
"We say this because we have noticed that only a few athletes contributed to the medal tally and that should be a concern for all of us in South Africa, as to where are the rest of them, do we have a way of unearthing them?"
He said at the end of this month, Sascoc is expected to announce a provisional squad for the 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio, and will start offering support, including providing financial support, to the squad from January 2013.
Sascoc said that it would need R400-million to prepare for the Rio Olympics.
Sam suggested that in future they would be strict with athlete performances and drop those who don't perform.
He said in this country, people would call for codes like football and boxing to be taken to the Olympic Games.
"Over the years, they have not performed. If you look at the model in the UK, if you don't perform, no money. You go to the Olympics and you don't perform, [it's] goodbye. Wait until you've increased your capacity to perform and then you can come back.
"We don’t do that here," he said.
He suggested that things were going to change.
"I have already told the president of cycling: 'You went to the Commonwealth Games, no medal; and went to the Olympics, no medal; so you have one more chance, that's Glasgow.'
"We can't just spend money … we have to give them that instruction otherwise what are we doing in this country?" he said.
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