The way to Rio 2016

2012-08-18 19:05

To win 10 medals at the next Games will require at least R400m, Sascoc says

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) will need a financial injection of at least R400 million over four years for its athletes to get the support required to win 10 or more medals at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam revealed this to City Press yesterday, saying he would present this to his organisation at its annual general meeting to be held at Johannesburg’s Sascoc House today.

“We need at least a budget of R100 million a year to get 10 or more medals in Rio,” said Sam.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula will deliver the keynote address at the meeting. He also agrees with the amount required, and wants government and business to join together in the project.

“I will propose an Olympics-specific fund and am going to appeal to government to put money into this kitty,” Mbalula said on Friday.

“We will also be approaching big companies to come to the party.”

Much as today’s agenda will be preoccupied with activity, financial and president reports, Sam said the selection and qualification criteria will come up for discussion.

“With proper funding, we should start with our programme of action by the end of the year,” he said.

“We need to build a big team that will go to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, but with very strict conditions so that we can then select a smaller team for the Olympic Games two years later.”

The collective input (BOLD)Sam said the council meeting will seek a collective input from the federations on how to improve on the London 2012 six medals, which was a 50% success rate as it was short of the targeted 12.

“Now that we got the medals even though we left some in London, we have a strong case to make to the government and the corporate,” said Sam.

“For us to succeed we must stay strong as a confederation and the federations must do the same. Federations must appoint head or chief coaches who would be accountable for progress.”

Sam added that they would approach the National Lotteries Distribution Fund for fixed grant to be spread over four years.

The selection criteria (BOLD)The pending selection criteria, almost similar to the one that came under fire from various sports quarters including athletes and coaches, is set to ignite debate when it is ratified at the AGM today.

The Rio 2016 criterion was discussed at the presidents’ council in May and early indications, based on the response afterwards, was that it would be endorsed.

The London 2012 selection criterion was that athletes, particularly athletics and swimming, must qualify twice - once locally and another qualifier had to be international.

“That must be clarified at our meeting tomorrow to avoid the confusion that ensued before London.”

Where to for athletes (BOLD)The average age of Olympic medallist from the last three Games indicates that the winners are getting younger.

In London, Team SA’s youngest medal winner was Le Clos at 20.

He will be 24 at the next quadrennial showpiece.The rowing team average was 22 and 25 years old with Ndlovu the oldest at 31.

Semenya will be 25 in four year’s time while Hartley will be 33.

At least there are no early signs as to who are rising stars that could pick up the baton for Brazil.

There are more challenges of popular codes such as athletics lacking sponsorship.

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