Khotso will be in team - Sam

2012-06-06 16:08

Johannesburg - South Africa's provisional team to the London Olympic Games was the best they could put together, according to SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president Gideon Sam.

“This is the best we could do," Sam said on Wednesday after he named a 112-member preliminary team.

"I think with the programme that we started so many years ago, in 2009, this is it."

Athletes would have until the qualifying deadline of June 30 to book their places in the final team.

There were athletes such us Khotso Mokoena, South Africa's only medallist at the Beijing Games in 2008, who had qualified, but had missed the May 31 deadline to be included in the provisional team.

“There is no one else who is not here unless it is an injury or something like that," Sam said.

"If you look at the omission of Khotso, he has qualified.

"It is just that admin came in too late, so he’ll be in the next team.”

While the squad was smaller than the one that travelled to the Beijing Games, Sam had not expected such a large group.

“From my own personal perspective maybe I didn’t expect three teams - two hockey teams and Banyana Banyana - but they’ve come to the party, so this is what we have," Sam said.

“That is the sum total of what we’ve got and that is what we expected going forward.”

Sam said the athletes that made it onto the list deserved to be there after years of hard work had paid off.

He added that SASCOC could include some wildcard entrants who had not met the qualifying standards, but they would look only to future prospects.

“I will probably be more inclined to give a youngster that is bubbling under, and who will be going to the 2016 Games [in Rio], an opportunity,” he said.

“I’d rather go that way because it is an investment for 2016.

“Once we have the full package we will look at this bubbling under and if it is an athlete for the future we will present it to the board and see which way we are going.

“We have to make that investment for the future."