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EDUCATION AND RECREATION SELECT COMMITTEE
20 October 2004
ATHENS OLYMPIC GAMES PERFORMANCE: NOCSA BRIEFING
Documents handed out:
National Olympic Committee of SA briefing
The National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) briefed the Committee on the performances and experiences of the South African team at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. NOCSA felt the Athens performance was an improvement on the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 as Team SA collected more medals in Greece. Members asked questions about team selection, gender representation and NOCSA's funding. The Committee congratulated NOCSA on what it considered a successful Olympic experience.
Mr S Ramsamy, NOCSA President, reported that both the Soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games had increased in importance to South Africans in 2004 and were now equally rated. The Olympic Games was ultimately the toughest sports environment in the world. However NOCSA's target was to improve on the performance in Sydney where five medals were won. This was achieved as the team brought home six medals. Mr Ramsamy described the selection policy noting that the NOCSA agreement, demography, international ranking, continental tournaments and wildcards were all factors in this selection. The challenges faced by the athletes included financial support as success came with the provision of support for the athletes. Also, the funding received by NOCSA was a fraction of what other teams had available. The SA medical facilities and staff, however, were the best ever assembled for a sporting event.
Mr J Thlagale (UCDP, North West) asked if heat problems were an experience unique to the South African team because of our climate or did the heat affect athletes generally. What was the level of drug usage by South African athletes relative to other countries?
Mr Ramsamy answered that the heat was a problem for all the teams. However teams from countries in the Northern Hemisphere had an advantage.
Prof Derman answered that the South African team was absolutely drug free. He noted however that drugs were becoming an issue at home. Also, the availability of more funds meant better preparation for the heat in terms of the availability of acclimatisation tanks and cooler clothing.
Ms A Qikani (UDM, Eastern Cape) asked for clarity on how the wild card policy affected NOCSA team selection.
Mr Ramsamy explained that wild cards are applied to countries if they had six or fewer qualifiers. South Africa, having such a large number of qualifiers, was not affected by wild cards.
Ms N Madlala (ANC, Gauteng) asked what the level of female participation was and if this was being promoted.
Mr Ramsamy stated that 40% of the team consisted of women. This depended largely on who qualified, but NOCSA tried to maintain a balance.
Mr M Sullivan (ANC, Northern Cape) asked if athletes from the Northern Cape were represented in the Olympic team.
Mr Ramsamy explained that national standards were used for team selection, but pointed out that one athlete from the Northern Cape made the team.
The Chairperson asked what criteria were used to judge whether our performance had improved in relation to previous Olympic Games.
Mr Ramsamy answered that by its nature sport has its ups and downs and is therefore difficult to judge. The criterion used by NOCSA was to improve on the Sydney performance.
Ms Madlala asked if government contributed to the funding of NOCSA and if NOCSA was involved in the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Mr Ramsamy answered that the government had contributed to the funding of NOCSA and asked the Committee to use its influence to increase its budget. NOCSA was actively involved with the 2010 World Cup campaign and its preparation.
Mr Thlagale thanked NOCSA for their efforts and agreed that the Committee would do what it could to increase NOCSA funding by government.
The meeting was adjourned.
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