Fighting for victory till the last drop
Photo caption: Members of Team SA are competing at the 2012 London Olympics until 12 August and the Paralympics from 29 August to 9 September.
We are behind you as a nation waving our beautiful rainbow flag at every available moment, said President Jacob Zuma at the Team SA’s final send-off to join 205 other nations at the London Olympics.
Making it clear that he and the country had great expectations, the President said there were some important values to remember as representatives of the country. “These are discipline, passion, commitment and dedication. If we have these elements, the chances of losing are very far.”
A clear message from Gideon Sam, President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), was that South African Olympians who were participating at the 2012 London Olympic Games should “fi until the last drop of blood” in order to win medals.
“We have set ourselves a target of 12 medals ... If you do not set a target, you would probably end up with only one medal,” he said.
“But when I look at this team, I am filled with pride and hope … This is a very good team and I have no doubt that there is lots of medal potential.”
Sam said the athletes were all aware that they should fight for those medals in order to make the nation proud. “This has been our message at every opportunity where we’ve spoken to them.” He said Sascoc had gone all out to support Team SA. “Not a single athlete will stand up after this campaign and say that he or she was not supported by us, we’ve been working very closely with all these athletes in preparation for the Olympics since June 2009.”
South African athletes are participating in 18 different sports codes, namely aquatics, archery, athletics, badminton, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, women’s football, men’s hockey, women’s hockey, judo, rowing, sailing and shooting, triathlon, beach volleyball and weightlifting.
Long and triple jumper Khotso Mokoena and middle-distance runner and world champion, Caster Semenya had promised that they were ready to make the nation proud.
Cameron van der Burgh, South African swimmer of the year, the world’s fastest breaststroke swimmer ever over 50 metres and Africa’s first home-trained world record holder, said he was “ready to explode.”
Team SA is in the company of 205 other nations made up of about 10 500 Olympic athletes competing in 300 events with approximately 6 000 coaches and officials.