Indaba focuses on boosting SA athletes

PEAK FORM: Jamaica's gold medallist and the world's fastest man Usain Bolt. © Unknown.
PEAK FORM: Jamaica's gold medallist and the world's fastest man Usain Bolt. © Unknown.

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

The department of sport and recreation will host a sport science indaba in Ekurhuleni today to discuss ways to improve the performances of local athletes at international level.

The one-day indaba, which will be attended by various sport federations, will be held at Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg.

Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile will also be part of the proceedings that will include coaches, professors and scientists.

Hajira Mashego, director in the scientific support services unit in the department, said the indaba wouldhelp them to formulate solutions and a way forward that would ensure improved performances of athletes at elite sport level.

She said the outcomes of today's gathering would feed into the national sport indaba scheduled for Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban on October 9 and 10.

Mashego said though they would focus on various sporting codes, they would use the Olympics as the major focus today.

"There has been a decline in terms of winning medals by our athletes at the Olympics and we are concerned with our under-performances at the Beijing Games," said Mashego yesterday.

"The indaba will help to make a scientific assessment of our performances in Beijing. We will do the same with non-Olympic sporting codes. Safa [the South African Football Association] is also part of this proceedings."

They will also focus on the talent identification programme which Mashego described as crucial for sport development in the country.

Tim Noakes from the Sport Science Institute will analyse the performances in Beijing.

Kelly Fairweather from the University of Stellenbosch will look at the possible reasons for the failure at the Games. Ross Tucker, from the University of Cape Town, will propose ways to improve South Africa's performance in sport.

The roles of tertiary institutions, sport federations and government will be discussed.