Tokyo mis­sion well on track

SASCOC: GOVERN­MENT STILL LOATHE TO RE­LEASE FUNDS

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - Wes­ley Bot­ton

With six months to go to the Tokyo Olympics, lo­cal of­fi­cials in­sist they are on top of things, though they ad­mit they are still in search of fund­ing for the na­tional team.

While there had been con­tro­versy re­gard­ing the SA Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion and Olympic Com­mit­tee’s (Sascoc) strin­gent qual­i­fy­ing stan­dards for the Tokyo Games, to be held in July, the um­brella body re­cently agreed with na­tional sport fed­er­a­tions that it would stick to the more le­nient in­ter­na­tional cri­te­ria.

In ad­di­tion, while tick­ets were ex­pected to go on sale last year, var­i­ous de­lays left SA res­i­dents un­sure of whether they would be able to at­tend the Games.

Sascoc, how­ever, con­firmed yes­ter­day it had ap­pointed an au­tho­rised ticket re-seller, and tick­ets were avail­able for pur­chase on the Team Sports Travel web­site.

But with govern­ment re­luc­tant to re­lease the purse strings un­til cer­tain changes had been made to the Sascoc con­sti­tu­tion (in line with rec­om­men­da­tions made by an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry) the or­gan­i­sa­tion did not yet have the funds to send what was ex­pected to be a large team to the qua­dren­nial multi-sport show­piece.

They were close to se­cur­ing a deal with the SABC to cover the Olympics and Par­a­lympics, though Hen­dricks said “one small con­trac­tual change” was still re­quired be­fore pen could be put to pa­per.

“The next step, of course, is to en­gage Lotto and the depart­ment of sport, and we have other part­ners com­ing on board,” said Sascoc act­ing pres­i­dent Barry Hen­dricks.

“So things are start­ing to hap­pen, the ex­cite­ment is start­ing to build, and our ath­letes must feel com­fort­able that we will be go­ing to Tokyo 2020.”

Hen­dricks re­mained con­fi­dent that they would be able to get a full na­tional squad to the Games.

“We are or­gan­ised, we are pro­fes­sional in do­ing so, and it’s all sys­tems go for Team South Africa,” he said.

Pic­ture: Gallo Images

BARRY HEN­DRICKS

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