Olympic athletes won't be forced to take jab, Sascoc vows

Games-bound stars wary about effects of vaccine

Wayde van Niekerk, 400m Olympic champion and world record holder (44) won the much talked-about 200m sprint of the 2nd leg of the ASA Athletix Invitational Meet powered by AVANTI at Ruimsig Athletics Stadium.
Wayde van Niekerk, 400m Olympic champion and world record holder (44) won the much talked-about 200m sprint of the 2nd leg of the ASA Athletix Invitational Meet powered by AVANTI at Ruimsig Athletics Stadium.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

With the Olympic Games around the corner, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) announced the first group of athletes going to the Games.

However, some of the athletes are concerned about taking the Covid-19 vaccine.

Though they are not forced to be vaccinated, Sascoc advised the athletes to take the jab.

Sascoc boss Barry Hendricks said it takes about 28 days for the jab to settle into the body as he urged them to do it.

“The policy is that the athletes are offered the vaccine and if they take the offer, they get vaccinated. They are in no way forced to take the vaccine. The Olympic Committee or the Japanese government will not force them either.

“Some of them are concerned that the Johnson & Johnson [vaccine] can cause them to be lethargic and tired. However, nothing serious has emanated from that. I understand but I need them to be vaccinated long before they go to Japan – that is our advice to them,” said Hendricks. 

Representatives across seven codes – athletics, climbing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey (men and women), sailing, and surfing – were named.

The final announcement of the athletes for the Games is on July 4 because others are still waiting to qualify.

Big-name athletes such as Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya have not yet secured their passage to the Games.

The CEO of Hockey SA, Marissa Langeni congratulated those who fought hard and booked their places in the team.

“We are here to salute you and support you and cannot travel with you to Tokyo because of the restrictions,” said Langeni. 

Athletics SA's performance manager Hezekiel Sepeng said the door is not closed to Semenya and Van Niekerk.

“Wayde had a minor injury and he was not comfortable in the US, but he will resume his training and will go to Italy for a training camp next month. All is well with him and he can still qualify,” said Sepeng. 

Qualified athletes

ATHLETICS

Akani Simbine, Clarence Munyai, Antonio Alkana, Cheswill Johnson, Ruswahl Samaai, Rocco van Rooyen, Jason van Rooyen, Stephen Mokoka, Desmond Mokgobu, Elroy Gelant, Wayne Snyman, men’s 4X100m relay team and men’s 4X400m relay team (athletes still to be determined by Athletics SA), Wenda Nel, Dominique Scott, Gerda Steyn and Irvette van Zyl

CLIMBING

Erin Sterkenburg and Chris Cosser

Coach/manager

James Barnes

CYCLING

Johan Spies, Charlene du Preez, David Maree, Daryl Impey, Ryan Gibbons, Nicholas Dlamini, Ashleigh Pasio-Moolman, Carla Oberholzer, Alan Hatherly, Candice Lill and Alex Limberg

Team Officials

Elton Davids (team manager and BMX coach)

Ian Goetham (road coach)

Moosa Classen (track mechanic)

Jean-Pierre Jacobs (mountain bike manager, coach and mechanic)

Carl Pasio (road coach)

Brigette Mileson (track coach manager)

Gary Blem (road mechanic)

GYMNASTICS

Caitlin Rooskrantz

Coach

Ilse Roets Laing

WOMEN’S HOCKEY

Quanita Bobbs, Erin Christie, Lisa Deetlefs, Lilian du Plessis, Nicole Erasmus, Tarryn Glasby, Robyn Johnson, Charne Maddocks, Lerato Mahole, Phumelela Mbande, Edith Molikoe, Kristen Paton, Tarryn Potts, Celia Seerane, Nomnikelo Veto and Onthatile Zulu

Coaches and management

Gillian Doig (manager), Robin van Ginkel (head coach), Nkuliso Zondi (assistant coach) and Taren Naidoo (video analyst)

MEN’S HOCKEY

Erasmus Pieterse, Timothy Drummond, Austin Smith, Mohamed Mea, Matthew Guise-Brown, Jethro Eustice, Nduduzo Lembethe, Taine Paton, Nicholas Spooner, Clinton Panther, Samkelo Mvimbi, Abdud Cassiem, Mustapha Cassiem, Nqobile Ntuli, Keenan Horne and Tevin Kok

Coaches and management

Martin van Staden (manager), Garreth Ewing (head coach), Siphesihle Ntuli (assistant coach), and Ashlin Freddy.

SAILING

Alex Burger and Benjamin Daniel

Coach/manager

Asenathi Jim

SURFING

Bianca Buitendag

Coach

Gregory Emslie

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