Sam sticks to his guns
Gideon Sam (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - SASCOC President Gideon Sam pulled no punches at the national Olympic governing body's annual general meeting held in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Reacting to criticism of the recent announcement of the South African team to do duty at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India in October, Sam stuck to his guns.
"We have raised the bar and we are sticking to our decisions, there is no more debate about it... if people are not happy with the way teams have been selected then they must wait until the next Olympic cycle in 2013." explained Sam
"Why I didn't respond immediately to the recent criticism was because I was waiting for the various presidents of the different federations to stand up and defend their selections as the fact of the matter is that we are guided by the federations in matters of selection.
"In terms of the next Olympics in 2012, there are between 10-15 very real medal prospects for us (remember my goal of 12 medals in 2012) and we are backing these sportsmen and women 100% and putting all our resources behind them.'
Sam is looking past London and on to the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"Our athletes' support programme for 2016 is about to kick in to identify prospective medal-winning athletes and the coaches to help them there. Our federations have come up with a squad of athletes and we at Sascoc will render support, expose them to international competition.
"These names will be made public, and no doubt the public will complain, but our various federations must be able to defend their selection choices."
Sam also had stern words for some of the federations.
"I'm sick and tired of begging some of the presidents for information about their athletes and if need be we will go straight to the athletes."