Cape Town - Swimming South Africa (SSA) president Jace Naidoo believes that Durban securing the rights to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games will lead to an increased financial support for the sport in the country.
“I’m certain that with winning this bid there will be support for our athletes going forward and we’ll be able to put medal-winning … not just men, but women and black athletes onto the team that will do the country proud,” Naidoo said when asked about the lack of successful able-bodied women swimmers in South Africa since Penny Heyns.
“It’s been a challenge. We’ve had some very talented (women) athletes and they’ve stopped swimming, mostly after school.
“It’s about keeping your athletes, but that requires support and getting sponsors on board to make sure that those athletes are kept in the program.”
Naidoo said that preparations for Durban 2022 would begin immediately.
“Seven years for an athlete is not a long time because that’s about how long it takes to develop a world class athlete,” he said.
“There’s a lot of work that will start immediately in terms of preparing those athletes and identifying them and getting them ready to make sure that we win medals in 2022.
“There is going to be a lot of pressure. I think swimming has risen to that occasion all the time. I’m fairly confident that with the right support we can do far better than we did in the previous Commonwealth Games.
“We have the talent in the country and it’s now about making sure we’re harnessing the talent and nurturing them … we’re likely looking at a substantially new squad of athletes than those that are currently competing. We are going to have to make sure that those athletes are prepared and ready to win medals for South Africa.”