Fikile Mbalula: Caster Semenya’s absence a concern

2014-07-15 20:34

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula is disappointed that Caster Semenya is not part of the team competing in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Yes I am disappointed that Caster Semenya is not here. She is a star athlete,” Mbalula told reporters in Pretoria today.

He said it was concerning that a runner of Semenya’s calibre was not participating in the event.

“It is a concern for me. Something is happening.”

He said it was important for the country’s star athletes to compete internationally, and prove their worth through hard work.

“Those who are here worked hard to be here. You’ve got to continue to test yourself against the best. It is not going to fall into your lap.”

Mbalula and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa were in Pretoria to send off 187 athletes who would be leaving for the athletic event tomorrow.

“Our message to them is ‘Go and represent South Africa. Be proud of your history and where we come from’.”

He said the team represented the diversity of the country.

Mbalula said transformation in sport was a process and that all the athletes had gone through rigorous programmes to meet the requirements to qualify for the athletic event.

He said for true transformation to take place, it needed to be addressed at grassroots level and in schools.

“Most of the talent that we have is still raw and needs nurturing ... All they need is support to be identified and nurtured.”

Rugby Sevens player Cecil Afrika, who was also the South African team’s flag bearer, said the group was excited to get to Scotland.

“We can’t wait to go out and do our best. We as a team are looking forward to the challenges.”

Leith Shankland, a member of the swimming team, said he was touched by Ramaphosa’s words of encouragement.

“I thought the deputy president’s message was powerful. To see how he sees us as a diverse, yet unified group gives you that much more motivation to perform.

“When you do it for yourself it’s all good and well, but it’s better when you do it for the nation.”

The games will start next Wednesday and end on August 3.

Ramaphosa said the country would support the athletes on the journey.

“This country is going to be fully and totally behind you and that should urge you to perform at your highest levels.

“You will bring back with you bags of gold and silver and even some measure of bronze.”

He said the group of athletes represented a non-racial South Africa.

“Today when I look at you I look at the colours of the rainbow ... We are different, we are united but we are one thing... People in Glasgow will look at you [on Mandela Day] and they will say these are Mandela’s children.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.