Sascoc splashes out R13m

2011-10-29 20:25

The South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee’s (Sascoc’s) Operation Excellence programme has cost the organisation over R13 million – across the Olympic and Paralympic squads – in the last financial year.

Sascoc is expected to spend a further R20?million between now and the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The programme was implemented in 2009. Its aim is to offer financial support to athletes that have met Sascoc’s criteria of Olympics and Paralympics preparation and qualification.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam is relying on this programme to earn the country the 12 medals he predicted when he took charge in 2008.

According to Sascoc’s latest financial report, equestrian Phillipa Johnson got the biggest chunk of the slice: R624?864.62 last year, followed by swimmer Cameron van den Burgh who received R515 367.21.

Alpheus Mkhwanazi (taekwondo) was the lowest at R6 000.

Sascoc’s high performance manager Ezera Tshabangu said: “All the athletes in our programme are costly.

The better part of Phillipa’s (equestrian) allocation went to her horse. And it was more expensive as she is based in Belgium and we’re talking a rand to euro conversion.

“So it depends on the different needs of athletes. Cameron is based in Pretoria but his competitions are mostly overseas. We are currently busy with the allocations for the new financial year and our projected costs will be plus-minus R20 million between now and the Olympics.”

Mario Smith, who coaches reigning world junior long jump champion Luvo Manyonga, said: “The financial support is very helpful. We were able to set up a training camp for eight weeks in Finland and Germany prior to the World Championships. The funding covered our accommodation, medical bills, transport and meals.”

Manyonga – who finished fifth in his debut at the IAAF Championships in South Korea two months ago – received R13 821.40 last year.

Smith’s former charge, 400m hurdler Cornel Fredericks also received R13 000.

Said Sam: “It is not easy and one of our major challenges is that we don’t have a centralised high performance centre. As a result athletes are not under our total control.”

Sascoc and Athletics South Africa were recently at loggerheads over an unpaid R40 million in grants – from lottery funding – prior to the world championships.

ASA went as far as threatening to pull out of the global competition if the money was not paid.

Long jumper Khotso Mokoena was only included in the programme about two months ago after a long-standing feud with the Olympics governing body.

This after he pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in India last year without furnishing Sascoc with a medical report.

His allocation was R25 712.12 last year.

Sam said he hoped that at the sports indaba next month the issue of the fairness of the funding model for federations would be raised.

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