Athletes get R20m in SAA air ticket sponsorship

2014-07-15 14:17

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South African athletes have one less thing to worry about in their preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics – air tickets.

SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) today announced a partnership with SA Airways (SAA) ahead of Team SA’s departure to this year’s Commonwealth Games.

The competition starts in Scotland next week.

The three-year sponsorship, worth R20 million, will provide air tickets enabling participating athletes and officials to reach their destinations leading up to the Olympics and the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.

Speaking at the partnership announcement at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg, Sascoc president Gideon Sam said the organisation hoped other parastatals would follow in investing in sports in the country.

“Whenever they [companies] are approached, they’ve got reasons why they can’t come on board,” said Sam. However, it wasn’t all “doom and gloom”, he added.

“Our athletes are performing. With SAA, at least we’ve got a start in intensifying our preparations in 2014 in the build-up to Rio.”

Team SA – which includes 187 athletes representing 16 codes – will depart tomorrow for Glasgow.

Several send-off events were organised for the team, including one with Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula in Pretoria and a gala dinner tonight.

South Africa won 33 medals at the previous Games in India. Sascoc says it wants a haul of 43 this time around.

The Games will finish on August 3.

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