hpc and SASCOC join forces for 2012

Posted on March 12, 2009

 Mr. Sam has a long relationship with the High Performance Centre in Pretoria on the University of Pretoria grounds. So when the announcement was made, along with a policy of decentralization of preparation for the Olympic Games in 2012, the HPC immediately came to the party and joined forces with SASCOC. On Tuesday 10 March the HPC launched their own sports science and medical individual sponsorships to help in that dream of 12 for 2012.

Although the 18 athletes the HPC has committed themselves to are not all in the Olympic sporting codes, nor will some of them be old enough to compete in 2012, the initiative will follow in the lines of SASCOC’s plan of having centre’s of excellence in the country. There are some big names on that list. Names such as Shaun Rubenstein, William Diering Suzaan Van Biljon, LJ Van Zyl and Roland Schoeman have all put their faith in the expertise of the HPC and Tuks Sport, who in turn provides all the necessary support structures to see that these athletes achieve the pinnacle of their abilities.

The marriage between sport science and practical coaching is an incredibly important one and the HPC has now launched a new initiative along with the sponsorships. There are two divisions within the HPC, namely the Performance enhancement and Medical and Rehabilitation Division. The support structure is there to empower the coach – not take the role of the coach – and thereby improving the athletes’ performance. A new virtual web coaching system has been developed by the HPC that will allow any athlete who is competing abroad, or even in South Africa but away from home, to access all the scientific support they have at their disposal at the HPC. The athlete logs onto the website and provides a logbook entry which the scientific and medical staff at the HPC have immediate access to and can then provide immediate support and advice.

Mr. Gideon Sam made no bones about the fact that the time for rewarding mediocrity and “half a medal” was over. “We need to take a professional approach and also to dream – and dream big. Without those dreams we will never get anywhere. And I make a commitment here today that if we fail in our endeavours to win those 12 medals then I will go down, but the administration of the different sporting codes will go down with me.” Indicative of an approach whereby all will be held responsible and accountable.

Roland Schoeman, winner of Gold, Silver and Bronze in 2004, was not shy in asking for a climate of accountability but also did not shirk his responsibility. “Get the athletes involved. Talk to us every month. Tell us what is going on, what you need and lets see where we can help. If you go down, we’ll go down with you, but you need to involve us and make us part of the whole process. I was very disillusioned after 2008, but after hearing what was said today I am recommitting myself to represent my country again in 2012.” And having an athlete with the caliber of Roland Schoeman behind you is worth its weight in Gold. He has after all been to 3 Olympic Games already.

Gideon Sam went on to say that the Administration needs to stop saying they are still learning. That time is over! He also went on to say that the coaches need to start using the technology that is available to them at places such as the HPC.

A new dawn has broken and both SASCOC and the HPC have made a commitment to see that South Africa relives and improves on those heady days of 2000 and 2004 when we were a proud nation and were able to hold a ticker tape parade for our athletes on their return from the Olympic Games.

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