SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president, Barry Hendricks, plans to engage Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa to discuss the Commonwealth Games incentives.
Sascoc embarrassed themselves when they didn’t have a clear plan to reward Team SA’s Olympic medallists after the Tokyo Olympics in Japan last year.
The SA Olympic movement revealed they had no money to incentivise the medallists.
The sports ministry saved them blushes when Mthethwa rewarded Olympic’s gold and silver medallist swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker and surfer Bianca Buitendag.
The Commonwealth Games are due to take place in Birmingham, England, from 22 July to 8 August this year.
Hendricks said Sascoc does not want to repeat the same mistakes at the Games, and wants to send a clear communication before the Games commence.
“We could have handled the issue of bonuses better. I admit that we flopped. We cannot afford to repeat the same embarrassing mistake.
“We are working with the minister to sort out incentives issues. The athletes will get their incentives,” said Hendricks.
Hendricks told SunSport that Sascoc is prepared to send a big team to the Games, but he has not set a medal tally.
Sascoc is giving Team SA leeway, and Hendricks wants them to go to the UK to enjoy themselves.
“I won’t put my head on the block and give you a target of medals,” he said.
“We want the team to go out there to compete. We do not like to put the pressure on athletes and want them to give their best.”
The sporting federations are starting to open up, and the athletes are hard at work preparing for the Games.
The Sascoc boss is also excited about the inclusion of netball at the Games.
“They informed us that netball has a slot available in the Commonwealth Games and that gives the attention to the sport.
“It will provide the players with the much needed competitive game time ahead of the 2023 netball World Cup in Cape Town,” he said.
Hendricks said they want to revive the Operations Excellence Programme (Opex), stressing it would assist athletes with funding.
He said Sascoc is planning to spend R28 million on athletes this year.
Hendricks is also excited about the new appointment of the Sascoc CEO, Nozipho Jafta.
“The new CEO will stabilise the organisation and bring the right people in our finance department,” added Hendricks.