SASCOC behind Games host
Gideon Sam (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - South Africa's Olympic boss says he will clean toilets himself in an effort to ensure the success of the crisis-hit Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India which starts on October 3.
"Our athletes will have no excuses if they do not perform at the Games," Gideon Sam, president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), said at a farewell dinner in Boksburg on Saturday night ahead of the team's departure on Sunday.
"If they are unhappy with their rooms because they have not been swept, they must take off their jackets and sweep them themselves. We will not complain. South Africans do not do that.
"And when I get there on Friday, if a toilet is not clean, I will clean it myself."
A few participating nations have delayed their arrivals in Delhi as the organisers attempt a last-minute cleanup. On Sunday, however, athletes continued to withdraw from the quadrennial multi-sport event.
And while India have been widely criticised for filthy accommodation, construction issues and security problems, Sam said it was imperative for South Africa to get behind the hosts.
He also slammed first-world countries for criticising the Games organisers, despite images from New Delhi highlighting the filthy state of the athletes' village, a bridge collapsing near the main venue and an attack on tourists two weeks before the opening ceremony.
On Sunday, Indian boxer Akhil Kumar, who weighs a little more than 50kg, complained after his bed collapsed under his weight at the athletes' village.
"As developing nations we must stand together. We cannot allow developed countries to go out there and take the last seat in the hall," Sam said.
"We had the same problems with these countries who complained before the Fifa World Cup, and I won't even mention them because we know who they are.
"As South Africans, we have always supported our friends, and internationally, India and Brazil are our best friends.
"We also want to host events like this, and it is unfair if they are hosted only by countries like England, Canada and Australia.
"We will be prepared when we get there, we will work side by side with our friends, and we will come back with medals."
Sam said South Africa had plans in place to ensure the safety of the athletes and provide sufficient medical care.
"We will have our own security on top of what the hosts are providing us," he said. "The medical team will also be well equipped (following an outbreak of dengue fever).
"Unfortunately for the athletes, we will be keeping a very tight rein on all of them.
"They will have to inform us of their every move so we can ensure their safety and get them back home to their loved ones in one peace."