President's Voice – Gideon Sam [press release] (

With four of the six Commonwealth Games Federation regions having visited Durban, KwaZulu-Natal to do site inspections, one can truly say that the road to Auckland, New Zealand, and the announcement of the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games has been shortened.

The delegates were very impressed with what Durban had to offer. For this we take our hats off to the South African team that put such professional presentations together.

Even the Coordination Commission under the leadership of Mrs Louise Martin was full of praise for the work done so far, though she cautioned that we still have a way to go to ensure that we satisfy the General Assembly in Auckland in early September.

We took good note of all the comments and the sound advice given. As we say, Durban is ready to inspire and so far, the delegates were inspired. Some were heard to say that we could be ready in two years’ time to present the Games!

But we will not be lulled by such friendly comments, because we know that it is going to be an arduous road ahead. Pleasing to note during these visits is the enthusiasm and support of the city. The foundations for a great working relationship has been laid and it promises great things for the Bid.

Moving on and before the London Olympics three years ago, SASCOC approached some tertiary institutions in an attempt to pool our resources behind our athletes. The outcome of this process delivered some results but we still feel we can do better if we put our minds seriously to this process.

I’m now happy to say that we have a renewed appetite as a broader sports family to assist our athletes. There will be a special focus on athletes getting ready for Rio 2016, but we also start the process of looking at those who will be ready to represent this country, both in Tokyo in 2020 and in Durban 2022 at the Commonwealth Games, which will be a first on the African continent.

We are in for exciting times and our athletes in or outside the tertiary education system must take note of these developments. Seven years may look like a long way off, but it is just around the corner and the last thing we want to be as a country is to be spectators at our own show.

On the sporting fields it’s great to see our stars continuing to shine.

The FINA World champs are underway now and huge congratulations must go out to our 2008 Olympian Chad Ho who swam to SA’s first medal of the Championships (5km open water). Here’s hoping there are a good few medals in the pool.

Congratulations to the medal winners at the recent IPC swimming world championships in Glasgow, Scotland. With Natalie du Toit and Charl Bouwer having retired we need to unearth some new stars on the para-swimming front.

Our young canoeists were in action at the World Junior and Under-23 champs in Portugal and although they didn’t make the podium, they still made finals! But up in Egypt I see Michaela Whitebooi and Courtney Read got gold and bronze in the African Junior Championships so hats off to them too.

Track and field results give me huge hope that this code has turned the corner and I for one, can’t wait to find time to watch our team in action at the IAAF World Championships in China! It’s also the World Netball Championships coming up in New Zealand, the senior Canoe Sprint World Championships in Italy. Where is a man supposed to find the time to watch all our stars?

And what about the African Games coming up in Brazzaville, Congo early in September?… it’s a case of so much sport, so little time!