Olympic body stick with six

2008-06-12 00:00

IN what is a slap in the face for Parliament’s sports portfolio committee, its controversial chairman Butana Komphela and some senior members of South Africa’s hockey community who were formerly classified as “coloured”, the South African men’s team will go to Beijing’s Olympics with six players formerly classified as “non-white” instead of the demanded minimum eight in the 16-man team.

Under the provisos of the Constitution a bizarre case of gender discrimination had also come into the equation pre-yesterday, as the same was not demanded of the SA women’s team — a minimum of six “non-whites” sufficing in their case.

In an announcement at Sascoc House in Johannesburg yesterday, the SA teams each included six “non-whites”.

In naming the teams, Sascoc, the SA Sports Congress and Olympic Committee, the country’s Olympic Games governing body, went with the advice of the formerly “coloured” SA men’s and women’s captains, a decision that flies in the face of the SA Hockey Association’s transformation policy document.

It must come as a huge surprise to some that the champion of transformation, Sascoc, is the body that stymied that policy’s requirement.

About seven months ago, Sascoc manager of high performance Tubby Reddy asked SA men’s and women’s captains Bruce Jacobs and Marsha Marescia — both of whom were classified as “coloureds” pre-democracy — how many “non-whites” they thought would make the respective 16-player SA Olympic teams on merit. Marescia said five and Jacobs six. Sascoc and the SA Hockey Association then agreed to a minimum six per team.

Many thought Sascoc would bow to Komphela, his committee and the demands of a sector of hockey people. It appears that Reddy and company stood their ground in trying to strike a balance between transformation and performance.

SA TEAMS

Women: Mariette Rix, Cindy Brown, Taryn Hosking, Vidette Ryan, Lenise Marais, Kate Hector (vice-capt), Kathleen Taylor, Tarryn Bright, Vida Ryan, Shelly Russell (all WP), Lisa Deetlefs, Marsha Marescia (capt), Fiona Butler (all Southern Gauteng), Sanani Mangisa (Northern Gauteng), Lesley-Ann George (North West), Jen Wilson (KZN Coastal). Non-travelling reserves: Henna du Buisson, Farah Fredericks (both WP). Support team: Jenny King (coach), Fabian Gregory (assisant coach), Shaune Baaitjies (manager), Adrian Carolan (video).

Men: Geoff Abbott, Clyde Abrahams, Marvin Bam, Paul Blake, Andrew Cronje, Darryn Gallagher, Tommy Hammond, Marvin Harper, Chris Hibbert, Bruce Jacobs (capt), Thornton McDade, Eric Rose-Innes (vice-capt), Austin Smith, Emile Smith, Ian Symons, Lungi Tsolekile. Non-travelling reserves: Shanyl Balwanth, Gareth Carr, Ian Haley, Ben Mbana, Rassie Pieterse. Support team: Gregg Clark (coach), Kurt Cerfontyne (assistant coach), Des Yeats (manager), Wayne Hendricks (video).

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