First batch of Olympic athletes

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Moss Mashishi, president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), says its all systems go for their athletes who will take part in the Beijing Olympics from August 8 to 24.

Mashishi was speaking after the announcement of the first group of Team South Africa athletes heading for the Olympics.

"Today we are announcing the first group of athletes who will not go to Beijing for a holiday but to hoist the South African flag with pride and dignity," Mashishi said.

Though he was positive that the athletes will do the country proud at the Olympics, Mashishi would not be drawn into revealing the number of medals they were targeting.

"We always avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the athletes by targeting a certain number of medals. What we are doing now is encourage them to improve on our haul. I urge all South Africans to back them," he said.

The Sascoc boss also stressed that the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee has assured them security will be tightened during the Games.

This came after growing fears that the lives of thousands of athletes from across the world will be in danger during the Olympics.

International calls to the world to boycott the Olympics over China's human rights record recently gained momentum.

Swimming medal hopes Roland Schoeman and Ryk Neethling were among the athletes in the first team to Beijing announced this week.

Sello Maduma ,who is the only black athlete in the team, said he was looking forward to the Games.