SASCOC assures Olympic medalists of their incentives

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Athletes who won medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, and medal winners at the 2020 Paralympic Games, will receive financial incentives. That’s according to the president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC ), Barry Hendricks.

Hendricks says they will announce the amounts the athletes will receive at a later stage because they are still in negotiations with their partners.

SASCOC has also defended the less stringent selection policy used to select the team for the Tokyo Games after the team’s poor overall showing.

While swimming sensation, Tatjana Schoenmaker, and surfer Bianca Buitendag gave South Africa something to cheer about, some of the other performances bordered on the embarrassing.

The overall performance of the team meant Team South Africa had produced its worst performance at the Games since the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But, SASCOC president,  Hendrick, says COVID-19 played a significant role.

“It had a profound effect you must remember there is a total difference between South Africa and the European countries most of who had access to competition especially in the build-up to the Olympics so yes covid did affect us.” 

The South African men’s and women’s water polo teams, for instance, were out of their depth and lost all but one of their matches, by a huge margin.

Their performances raised questions about SASCOC’s selection policy, which was relaxed for the Tokyo Olympics.

“We took a decision as SASCOC members to open the selection process and not make it as stringent as in the past. This gives us a platform from which to work now to say look this is our strength where do we need to work on to take our teams forward what systems programs do we need to help our athletes.

Hendricks says they will sit down with federations to map the way forward and use next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham to gauge progress.

“We have to sit down with Swimming South Africa, we have to sit down with Waterpolo they are the ones who have to advise SASCOC regarding their strategies going forward and this is what we are going to do with all the coaches us.” 

Hendricks says Team South Africa was also hard done by defending 800 metres champion Caster Semenya not being allowed to compete and 400 metres world record holder, Wayde Van Niekerk, not being in top form.

And while track and field athletes also didn’t impress, Hendriks said there was optimism that sprinter Akani Simbine and others would be among the medal contenders at the next Games in Paris in 2024.