Sascoc to assist swimmers going to Barcelona

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) confirmed in April that South Africa's elite swimmers would participate at the global spectacle in Barcelona in July, but Swimming South Africa said lesser-known athletes might need to contribute as much as R3 000 from their own pockets if they hoped to take part.

"As Sascoc, we will always contribute to the best of our ability," chief head Tubby Reddy said on Wednesday.

"Swimming did us proud with three medals at the London Olympics last year, and we need to build on this going forward. Thus, we are proud to say that we are contributing an amount of R435 200 to this cause."

Only five swimmers are on Sascoc's Operation Excellence programme, but it believed its contribution would help cover the costs of 10 swimmers and six officials, and would ease the burden on the financially troubled national swimming federation.

Lucrative offers
Earlier this month, Swimming South Africa named a 22-member team for the world championships.

"Funding is an ongoing problem in South African sport, but at Sascoc we felt that we had to do whatever possible to ensure that as many athletes as possible get to compete in Barcelona," Reddy said.

Sascoc also confirmed that Swimming South Africa had secured the services of national swimming coach Graham Hill until after the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Hill guided the South African team to their best ever performance in the pool at the London Olympics last year, when they bagged two gold medals and one silver. His new contract would end in December 2016.

Swimming South Africa chief executive Shaun Adriaanse said earlier this year that Hill had received lucrative offers from other national federations, including Swimming Australia, and they were in danger of losing his services.

"It is absolutely wonderful to see that Graham is so patriotic to South Africa in light of the various employment offers that he has received from various countries – and that includes Australia – which he has turned down in favour of continuing his fabulous work for South African sport," Reddy said. – Sapa       

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