Sam stuns Mashishi in Sascoc presidential race

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Contrary to the expectations, Gideon Sam was elected president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee on Saturday.

He beat favourite Moss Mashishi by three votes after the outgoing Triathlon South Africa president got 85 votes at the quadrennial elections.

The new executive committee will lead Sascoc for the next four years. The outcome of the elections left many members of the federations who were convinced that Mashishi would easily beat Sam shell-shocked.

But it appears Mashishi did little to convince more members to vote for him in the run-in. He could also have been lulled by the government's resolution at the recent sport indaba that he should be allowed to continue leading Sascoc to enable him to deal with transformation of the federation.

Mashishi may have felt he had survived the fallout from Team South Africa's dolorous display at the Beijing Olympics in August.

Sam said he felt humbled by the confidence the federations had shown in him.

"I will ensure that we work hard for the success of Sascoc. We are proud with what Sascoc achieved under the leadership of Mashishi, and he will continue to be part of this federation," said Sam, who was beaten by Mashishi for the same position in the previous elections.

He also revealed that he will resign as chairman of the sport distribution agency in the National Lottery Board.

Said Mashishi: "We should give the new executive committee all our support and I believe Sascoc will grow much stronger under the leadership of Sam.

"I will not shun Sascoc because I will also avail myself to assist them."