Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
18 Nov 2014
3:50 pm

Sascoc targets 10 medals at Rio Games

Wesley Botton

South Africa's Olympic governing body says it wants 10 medals at the 2016 Rio Games, despite confirming on Tuesday it had removed 24 athletes from the Operation Excellence (Opex) programme for funding and support.

FILE PICTURE: Gideon Sam. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) revealed 58 names in the latest list of Opex athletes, including 29 able-bodied athletes and 29 athletes with disabilities.

“We must support each other and aspire to achieve this 10-medal target,” said Sascoc president Gideon Sam.

After aiming for 12 medals at the 2012 London Games, the nation bagged six.

And while Sascoc reduced its target for Rio, Sam reaffirmed the Olympic body’s intention to give full support only to athletes with medal potential at the Olympics and Paralympics.

However, Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy said other avenues of support would be provided for promising athletes who were not deemed to have a realistic chance of stepping onto the podium.

Among those missing from the latest Opex list are Olympic 800m silver medallist Caster Semenya, who was in poor form this year, world championships 1 500m bronze medallist Johan Cronje, who broke the national record in the mile this season, and Commonwealth Games cycling bronze medallist Ashleigh Moolman Pasio.

“We are still reviewing some of the omitted athletes to ascertain if they could be considered under the National Academy support programme,” Reddy said.

“This will enable them to continue preparing with the aim of qualifying for Rio 2016.”

The athletes included in the Opex programme, which will be assessed again in March next year, include Olympic medallists Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh (swimming), Bridgitte Hartley (canoeing), James Thompson, John Smith and Sizwe Ndlovu (rowing), and former medallist Khotso Mokoena (athletics).

Ten sports – athletics, boxing, canoeing, cycling, gymnastics, judo, rowing, sailing, swimming and triathlon – are represented in the Opex Olympic programme, and six codes – athletics, cycling, rowing, shooting, swimming and wheelchair tennis – are included in the Paralympic programme.