Committee says Olympics not only about trophies

First have fun, medals will come, Team SA told

Barry Hendricks during the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) Board members portraits on January 12, 2018 in Johannesburg.
Barry Hendricks during the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) Board members portraits on January 12, 2018 in Johannesburg.
Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

As strange as it may seem, SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Barry Hendricks has given Team SA the leeway to enjoy themselves at the Olympic Games taking place in Tokyo, Japan, in July.

Hendricks, who took over the Sascoc presidency last November, has not set a target of how many medals the team should bring home from the Games. Five years ago at the Rio Olympics in Brazil the team came back home with a record haul of 10 medals.

However, the former SA squash president said the team must go out there to enjoy themselves and not worry about winning medals. It will cost the government R47m and R18m to fly out the Olympic and Paralympic teams to Asia.

Even though it would cost the team a lot of money to go to the Olympics, Hendricks does not see the need to put a tally of medals on them. “We do not want to put added pressure on them as to whether they will win medals or not. The Olympics should not be about winning or losing. During the competition they must focus on what they do at that particular time and not focus on winning or losing. They must focus on what they have been trained to do all the time. We are not going to say anything about a medal tally just yet," Hendricks told Sowetan.

“The Olympics is an event where people strive to attend, build and grow,” he said.

“You might not win a medal this year at the Olympics, but for instance, there is an athlete in Canada who tried for four years to try to win a medal, did not succeed, and finished 12th.He tries again, he gets silver and then gold. Therefore, what I am trying to say is that the Olympics are a stepping stone to developing as an athlete. We are not going to pressurise athletes and federations or demand from them to get us medals.”

Hendricks said what important was for the team to enjoy themselves and medals would be a bonus.

Hendricks will announce the final Olympic team on July 4.

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