Sascoc defends Team SA
Cape Town - Olympic governing body Sascoc has defended the proportion of athletes to officials in Team South Africa for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
A team of 125 athletes (67 male and 58 female) will travel to London and they will be accompanied by 46 officials serving in various wide-ranging categories in each sport.
An additional 12 medical staff (three doctors and nine physiotherapists) will be there to ensure the wellbeing of the athletes along with a General Team Management compliment of eight.
Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy said the team's composition was nothing out of the ordinary. "I think you'll find that most countries going to the Olympics will have roughly the same proportion of athletes to officials if not more."
An interesting comparison as to athlete-official breakdown is that the Australian team recently announced for the 2012 Olympics consists of 410 athletes with 319 officials.
"Wherever possible we have kept officials down to the minimum, without sacrificing on the quality of support. In many of the codes where we don't have a large competitor base then the official will double up on coach/manager duties," said Reddy.
In no less than eight of the 17 codes with South African representation one official will do both coaching/management duties. These are archery, badminton, judo, sailing, shooting, triathlon, volleyball and weightlifting.
"It stands to reason when it comes to the bigger codes that more support staff are needed. So for hockey with 32 players (men and women) there are two managers, four coaches and two video analysts."
Other sport codes involve more than one event, requiring greater logistics, such as aquatics (13 events) and athletics (25 events).
Some codes, explains Reddy, need more support than others. "Equestrian is an example of this. We may only have one competitor but the nature of the sport means that he needs a coach/manager, a groom and a veterinary surgeon.
"It is a pity that people who comment on these situations do not do enough homework and research on the issue before putting out misleading statements in the public arena thereby ensuring that we have to spend half our lives and time on trying to justify what does not need to be justified. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty we at Sascoc are more than happy that there is a satisfactory balance between officials and competitors."