Sascoc on track with Olympic team effort

THE efforts of the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) to improve on the national team's dismal performance at last year's Beijing Games are well on track.

THE efforts of the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) to improve on the national team's dismal performance at last year's Beijing Games are well on track.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam said this after their board meeting yesterday.

South Africa picked up only one medal in Beijing - Khotso Mokoena's silver in the men's long jump - in the nation's worst performance since Charles Catterall earned a lone silver medal in the men's featherweight boxing division at the Berlin Games in 1936.

On the team's return from Beijing, however, Sascoc wasted no time in putting together a programme focusing on the 2012 Games in London, where they are hoping for a perhaps overly optimistic 12-medal haul.

But, while Sascoc may be aiming rather high, their efforts should result in a better performance.

The first step they took earlier this year was to name two provisional training squads from various sporting fields - an A and a B group separated by world rankings - who would receive funding and the necessary support to perform well in London.

And, with next year's Commonwealth Games in Delhi the first step in paving the way to London, Sam confirmed that the provisional squads will attend their first training camp in Esselen Park, Johannesburg, next month.

Athletes competing at Beijing, particularly the swimmers, usually South Africa's majority medal winners, complained of poor financial assistance but Sam assured that all athletes in their provisional squads will be given help.

Sam also said Sascoc had mended ties between ASA's suspended board and the International Association of Athletics Federations in a meeting with IAAF president Lamine Diack.

The Olympic body and the ASA interim board have also decided not to interfere with the IAAF's handling of tests done on world 800m champion Caster Semenya. - Sapa

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