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SA Olympics looking ‘swak’ all around

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Wayde van Niekerk did not do as well as he would have hoped at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Reuters, Dylan Martinez

Stuck with just three medals, almal is feeling swak with the lack of real world-class performances.

IT’S been a nightmare second week in Tokyo for South African Olympians.

Stuck with just three medals, almal is feeling swak with the lack of real world-class performances.

Up until last night, only Tatjana Schoenmaker’s gold and silver in the 200m and 100m breaststroke and Bianca Buitentag hanging ten for silver in the first Olympic surfing competition were the only medals claimed.

It begs the question: what went wrong?

Obviously the Covid-19 pandemic is one of the huge problems facing our athletes, with a lack of competition in the last 18 months – especially for someone like 400m Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk who was fighting his way back to fitness.

But that was a global problem, something even gold medallists had to deal with.

With corruption allegations rocking Sascoc (SA’s sports and Olympic body) – including financial mismanagement and sexual harassment in recent times – it’s time to get to the bottom of the mess.

In the spirit of Cricket South Africa’s Social Justice and Nation Building hearings, I suggest that we have a public inquiry into Sascoc.

Get Parliament to appoint an independent ombudsman and get some people to testify.

Then when they’ve rooted out all the onkruid, then we can get the athlete’s opinions on how to run their sports and get some decent administrators.

For far too long we’ve had to hear of mismanagement of public funds at sports federations, while at local level, hard-earning subscription fees have gone to line people’s pockets.

Because in the end, Tokyo is what happens.

Not only do we embarrass ourselves on the world stage, but we rob athletes of their reward, coaches and staff of their livelihoods and ultimately we rob kids of their dreams.

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