Beijing Olympics costs SA R80m

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has spent about R80 million to prepare the athletes for the 2008 Beijing Olympics for the past four years.

This is more than R20 million that was spent for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The figures were confirmed to Sowetan by Sascoc boss Moss Mashishi after the announcement of the final Team SA for the Olympics in August.

The team, which comprises athletics, tennis, rowing, road cycling, triathlon, weightlifting and aquatics, was announced at the Olympic House in Johannesburg yesterday.

But there will be individual athletes who will still be drafted into the team if they succeed in the Olympic qualification events that are under way in Europe.

"Our budget for the Olympics has been worked out quadrennially to be in line with the Olympic Games," explained Mashishi. "We are doing everything possible to challenge for medals in Beijing and our athletes need the support of all South Africans."

The team will go into a final training camp in Korea from July 27 until August 6. The Olympics run from August 8 to 24.

Sascoc also confirmed kwaito star-turned-pastor Kabelo Mabalane as its brand manager.

Mabalane said he felt honoured by the appointment.

Some of the athletes who were announced yesterday include Pieter de Villiers, Alwyn Myburg, Samson Ngoepe, Elizna Naude, Ruben Ramolefi, Kate Roberts, Darryn Anthony, Jeff Coetzee and Alex White.