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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

SASCOC to consider prioritizing athletics and swimming in Olympic funding allocation

Following South Africa's disappointing showing at the recent Olympic Games, SASCOC has acknowledged that it may have to prioritize certain sporting codes above others in order to win more medals at future Games. Team South Africa returned from #Tokyo2021 with just three medals, which is the country's worst showing since Beijing 2008.

And while Athletics and Swimming usually provide the bulk of the nation's podium finishes, the former failed to produce a single medal for the first time since readmission in 1992 as Tatjana Schoenmaker bagged gold and silver in the pool. Although they insist that the organisation is not broke, The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee admits that in order to make best use of finite resources, it may be time to consider granting federations funding on the basis of their potential for Olympic success.

SASCOC President Barry Hendricks (back row third from left) flanked by Olympic silver medalist Hezekiel Sepeng and the other members of the Olympic athletic team at #Tokyo2021. Photo Credit: SASCOC Media.

"Clearly we're taking a different path," said SASCOC President Barry Hendricks during a media briefing in Johannesburg on Friday. "We've now wrapped up our past problems and financial difficulties. We've resolved that and the organisation needs to look at what do we do over the next cycle to turn this organisation around. And we're working really closely with the Athlete's Commission and I need to stress that," he explained.

Since Barcelona 1992 when South Africa returned to the Olympic movement under the guise of the peace flag before first competing as a democratic South African at Atlanta 1996, athletics has won 14 of the 38 national medals, while 16 have to gone to swimming. "We have to use the examples of the other countries, where they have also prioritized the funding where they now know that these teams or codes are performing at their peak and they give them more funding. You cannot runaway from that," said Hendricks when asked about whether the national Olympic body would consider changing their funding criteria in order to produce more medals.

Hendricks says one cannot runaway from the fact that codes with potential to produce more medals may have to receive more funding. Photo Credit: SASCOC Media.

But SASCOC Vice President Lwandile Simelane was quick to add that any decision regarding high performance and an amendment to the funding allocation policy would have to be taken by the organisation as a whole. "That is a strategic discussion that you have to have with your membership. A lot of our policy driven discussions are always taken at our General Assembly. We need to finish Tokyo. Tokyo is not finished yet. Tokyo finishes on the 5th of September. And once we finish Tokyo, as an organistaion, everybody has to come together and make those policy decisions that have to happen," she said.

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