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WHEN it comes to quo­tas in sport, Sam Ram­samy says all South Africans must have equal op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“When all South Africans are given equal op­por­tu­ni­ties and we se­lect a team, it will be done on merit and it will not mat­ter if it is all black, all white, or half black and half white. But this is not hap­pen­ing at the mo­ment and it is a prob­lem,” said Ram­samy.

He sug­gested that to ad­dress the im­bal­ance, it was vi­tal to go back to grass­roots sports. “We need to re­vive com­mu­nity sports and we need to ad­dress the is­sue of all sport­ing codes at schools. This must be manda­tory.

“We must iden­tify chil­dren with ap­ti­tude. We also need to iden­tify sports where it is easy to ac­cess op­por­tu­ni­ties. At the mo­ment these are soc­cer, track and field, box­ing and vol­ley­ball.”

He said the gov­ern­ment must sup­port these sports at lo­cal, pro­vin­cial and na­tional lev­els. Other sports that did not pro­vide equal op­por­tu­ni­ties should re­ceive min­i­mum sup­port.

Ram­samy, who was a mem­ber of the bid­ding team for the Com­mon­wealth Games to be hosted in Dur­ban in 2022, at­tended these games from 1974 to 2014 with the ex­cep­tion of one in Ed­in­burgh in 1986.

“Mar­garet Thatcher, the prime min­is­ter of the UK, made a state­ment that she would sup­port the eco­nomic links with apartheid South Africa, and African gov­ern­ments said that if that was the case, African coun­tries would not par­tic­i­pate in the games. Caribbean coun­tries, even Cyprus, did not send ath­letes and as a show of sol­i­dar­ity, I did not at­tend. “

Ram­samy said the at­mos­phere at the games that he at­tended over the years was “friendly and ex­cit­ing”.

“Ex­pect a spec­ta­cle. These games will do Dur­ban good be­cause they will in­crease tourism and many air­lines are con­sid­er­ing us­ing the city as a hub. It will boost eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and em­ploy­ment.”

He said scep­tics might talk about cost, but fa­cil­i­ties would be­come legacy projects.

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