Cape Town - Olympic governing body SASCOC on Wednesday announced the first names of Team South Africa to participate at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The initial squad of 24 athletes was released after the completion of the final qualifying deadlines in some of the different sporting codes.
This team is a blend of experienced and new talent with many team members having worn the green and gold of Team South Africa at previous Olympic Games.
More than 10 500 athletes from 207 countries are expected to attend the event that will take place from August 5-21, 2016.
At the last Olympic Games in London, Team South Africa ended 23rd on the medals table with a total of six medals. The medals tally was made up of three gold, two silver and one bronze.
Cameron van der Burgh (100m breaststroke), Chad le Clos (200m butterfly), and the men’s lightweight fours rowing combination won gold medals, athlete Caster Semenya won silver in the 800m track race and another silver came Le Clos in the 100m butterfly race while canoeist Bridgitte Hartley bagged the bronze medal in the K1 500m.
SASCOC president Gideon Sam congratulated the first members of the squad: “It’s a very exciting time for us at Olympic House and it feels almost unreal to be able to reach a stage where we are able to announce the first names of a team that we feel can bring huge sporting pride to the whole of South Africa.”
Tubby Reddy, SASCOC CEO also expressed his happiness at the initial team announcement: “The time we have been waiting and preparing for in this quadrennial has finally arrived. With the combined team effort from the National Federations, coaches, athletes and us at SASCOC, we’re confident that we have compiled the best team possible with the resources available.
‘The team is an excellent combination of experienced campaigners and rising stars who will hopefully bring more medals from Rio than we did at the 2012 London Olympics.”
The final Olympic Games team will be announced at a press conference on July 14, 2016 while the Paralympic Games team will be announced prior to that on July 6 at a press conference as well.
The initial list of athletes in Team South Africa for the 2016 Olympic Games are:
(This is a provisional squad for the Marathon). If any athletes qualify with a better time between now and July 11, 2016, they will be considered.
Irvette Van Zyl
Diana Lebo Phalula
Men’s Road Race
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics
Chad Le Clos
Cameron Van de Burgh