SASCOC crushes skier's dream

Sive Speelman (Facebook)
Sive Speelman (Facebook)
Cape Town - South African alpine skier Sive Speelman has had his dream of competing at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics crushed by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

Speelman, who hails from Barkley East in the Eastern Cape, qualified for Sochi, but SASCOC has denied him the opportunity of racing and flying the SA flag.

Former SA Winter Olympic competitor, Alex Heath, who represented the country in 1998 (Nagano, Japan), 2002 (Salt Lake City, USA) and 2006 (Turin, Italy) took to Facebook on Wednesday to vent his frustration.

What a sad day. Sive Speelman qualified to compete at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, but SASCOC has denied him the opportunity to race and raise South Africa's flag. It is an embarrassment to sport and the Olympic ideals.

Speelman responded to the post, writing: Well all my hard work has gone to nothing, all to thank SASCOC.

To date, SASCOC has failed to respond or issue a statement regarding Speelman's non-participation.

Ironically, current SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy back in 2012 paid tribute to Speelman after he was SA's sole representative at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

Speelman, who was 16 at the time, took part in four events during the competition.

“It was extremely heartening to see Sive in action against athletes from 74 nations,” said Reddy. “There is no doubt that he represented his country with honour and distinction.

“He definitely put South Africa on the map at these Games. We must remember that he is a young African guy competing against skiers who have all taken part in snowsport activities from an extremely young age.”

“His best event was his third event, the Giant Slalom, where he finished 35th and contrary to media reports saying he finished last, he finished 35th out of a total of 48 fellow competitors and 64 starters, giving every reason for South Africa to be very proud of him.”

The Sochi Winter Olympics will run from February 6-23.

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