Parliament unhappy with SASCOC’s Rio attire

Chad le Clos (Getty)
Chad le Clos (Getty)

Cape Town - South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president Gideon Sam said the organisation will in future pay special attention to the attire worn by Team South Africa at major sporting events.

This comes after parliament expressed its dissatisfaction over Team SA's uniform at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year.

Last week, SASCOC appeared before the portfolio committee on sport and recreation and was briefed on the performance of Team SA at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A statement on Parliament's website reads: "The Committee was not satisfied with the explanation given by both SASCOC and the Department of Sport and Recreation regarding 361º, the company from China that sponsored clothing for Team South Africa for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

"The Committee believes that the complaints and concerns received from Olympic athletes regarding the tracksuits should be taken seriously and that the department and SASCOC should request the sponsor to provide clothing that is of good quality and cut for athletes.

"Although the Committee is not happy with the explanation given regarding the attire of Team South Africa, it is sympathetic to the challenges faced by SASCOC in acquiring sponsorship from corporate South Africa."

During the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the South Africans' attire was heavily scrutinised in the media by athletes and spectators alike.

South African fans were embarrassed by the team’s opening ceremony apparel where they donned tracksuits as opposed to other countries who wore blazers or traditional clothing.

One fan even suggested that the tracksuit double silver medal winner Chad le Clos wore poolside in Rio bore a striking and uncanny resemblance to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Also scrutinised were the golf bags carried by caddies for Paula Reto, Ashleigh Simon, Jaco van Zyl and Brandon Stone which also came under fire for their "throw-back to the 1990s look" and not even having the names of the players emblazoned on them.

After the Games, silver medallist Sunette Viljoen and 2012 bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley said that some athletes had to use their own money to make alternations to the baggy tracksuit.

Sam commented via a statement released on Monday: "The report on the performances was well received, but the issue of the tracksuits took a considerable chunk of our time. The issues raised by the members will be dealt with in future when the suppliers do their planning."

The long-term deal between SASCOC and 361º was reported to extend until the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

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