Wednesday 24 July 2019 marked exactly a year to go before the world’s biggest multi-coded sporting spectacle, the 2020 Olympic Games, gets underway in Tokyo, Japan.
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) joined the rest of the world in celebrating this big milestone, in a launch event that was held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.
The opening ceremony of the Games will take place on 24 July 2020 and the Games, featuring South Africa’s and the globe’s finest athletes, will run for just over two weeks before ending on 9 August.
Coming during a special month where we celebrate South Africa’s icon, Nelson Mandela, the main aim of the launch was to celebrate our legends – past olympians whilst inspiring the present and future ones.
“Nelson Mandela’s love of sport and inspiration to us in sport was immesurable. We hope to drink once more from that ancient well of inspiration and we do more and better in our sport than we have ever done before,” said SASCOC President, Mr Gideon Sam.
“We are compelled to emmulate the values that Mandela set for us which include building a better world for sport and impacting positively on other people’s lives,” added Mr Sam.
Elana Meyer, South African long-distance runner who won the silver medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in the 10,000 metres event, Bridgette Hartley who took bronze in the London 2012 women’s canoe sprint K-1 500 metres race and Cecil Afrika who was part of the Rugby Sevens team that won bronze in Rio De Janeiro in 2016 attended the event and shared their expriences on their participation at the various Olympic Games and inspired other fellow olympians.
Dr Patho Zondi, Chief Medical Officer for Team South Africa encouraged the athletes to focus on the contrallables which include: training, nutrition, sleep, etc as they prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Games. In the same light, SASCOC Brand, Marketing and Sponsorship Consultant, Qondisa Ngwenya, highlighted that SASCOC looks to provide the necessary assistance to the athletes in whatever manner we can to make sure that our athletes succeed as much as they can in Tokyo.
Moving to the Selection Policy, Ezera Tshabangu, SASCOC General Manager High Performance explainedtha that the formulation process commenced in August 2016 and important to note on the selection policy is that:
- Continental Championships/ Qualification Events shall be considered and agreed to between SASCOC and the NF with minimum requirements as set out by the IF.
- Additional criteria will be set by SASCOC considering the following: § Competitiveness of the sport on the African Continent; § Number of countries participating in that sport; § International rankings of individual Athletes/ Teams; § Most recent results of individuals or teams in the particular sport; § Performance History of the Athlete/ Team. In the next few months, athletes are gearing up their final training preparations as the various disciplines attempt to make the qualifying standards. A total of 31 NFs in South Africa are attempting to qualify for the Olympic Games. SASCOC wishes all our athletes well as they work towards their final qualifying preparations.