SA ‘almost ready’ for Olympics

2011-02-01 14:34

South Africa is “almost ready” for the 2012 Olympics in London, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Gideon Sam said today.

“We don’t want to make the same mistake of the Beijing Olympics by leaving everything up to the federations,” Sam said during a briefing at Olympic House in Houghton, Johannesburg.

Sam said the Olympic governing body had not taken its eyes off the Operation Excellence programme, which was started two-and-half years ago.

The programme, said Sam, provide financial and coaching assistance to the Olympic hopefuls.

“We are in the process of building capacity for our second-tier athletes.”

The first tier is made up of a group of athletes who brought glory to the country from international competition and are also identified as medals prospects at the London showpiece.

As for this year’s line-up of sporting activities, Sascoc’s major project on the 2011 calendar is the 123rd International Olympic Committee Congress in Durban later in the year.

“Then there is the All Africa Games in Maputo (in September) and the Youth Commonwealth Games on the Isle of Man,” said Sam.

The world athletics and the swimming championship will give an indication on the progress of athletes prior to the Olympics.

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