“HOWZIT CHINA!” – an apt greeting in waiting as a very powerful South African Paralympic team prepares to do battle at the “greatest show on earth”. Beijing 2008 beckons!
China recently upstaged South Africa as the world’s leading gold producer. Team South Africa at the Paralympic games are set to replenish our gold stocks!
I was privileged to be the master of ceremonies at the Team South Africa announcement by SASCOC at Olympic House on Wednesday 11th June – a truly inspiring event filled with huge pride and emotion.
This team of 48 athletes (participating in athletics, hand cycling, swimming, table tennis, tennis, cycling, rowing, power-lifting, equestrian and a basketball team of twelve) boasts a perfect blend of new exciting talent combined with experience at the very top end. It is really fantastic to see the inclusion of a rowing team for the first time.
Newcomers to the team will have the luxury of being mentored and “buddied” by established superstars in their own right; it really is a mouth watering prospect.
Without intending to put pressure on the athletes and for fear of being accused of fence sitting, I have adjusted my gold medal predictions increasing the tally to 18! (see February edition of RI.)
Athletics - Fanie Lombaard 1, Michael Louwrens 1, Oscar Pistorius 2, Zanele Situ 1, Ernst van Dyk 1, Hilton Langenhoven 1, Fanie van der Merwe 1, Teboho Mokgalagadi 1, Nicholas Newman 1.
Swimming – Natalie du Toit 5, Tadhg Slattery 1, Kevin Paul 1.
Equestrian – Philippa Johnson 1.
I am really confident that the team will return triumphant in every way and, although I have highlighted my gold medal predictions, the tussle for lesser rated medals, SA records and personal bests are equally as important.
Lets never forget that without the financial support of Corporate partners (Coca – Cola, Mercedes – Benz, Nedbank, Pick-n-Pay, Sasol, SAA, Sun International, Telkom, Vodacom and PUMA) and Sports & Recreation SA and the National Lotteries Board, this team would be floundering as opposed to flourishing.
The games begin on 6 September having been preceded by the greatest curtain raiser of them all – the Olympic Games, where we wish Team South Africa the very best in their quest to be the best.
Yours truly was recently invited to turn the first sod of soil at the site of the “to be built” South African Sports Hall
of Fame in scenic Knysna. There I was, armed with a silver spade (with Madam Mayor in tow) thinking to myself that if the TV cameras pick me up and my wife sees me, I will be despatched to gardening duties on the weekend!
I am not convinced in my mind that Knysna is the right location for a national Sports Hall of Fame but will watch it role out and hope that once their marketing plans are hatched, I will be proved wrong and that all South Africans will get a chance to witness the feats of our sporting greats.
Good luck to Naas Botha (driver of the project) and his team and congratulations on a great vision!
As Nedbank are a main sponsor of the Comrades Marathon, I attended this year’s uphill run and positioned myself at our “green mile” at Cato Ridge.
“Why oh why would anyone want to do this?” I ask myself. Just watching 11,000 runners completing their annual pilgrimage was exhausting!
Hats off to all of you for demonstrating the determination and will of the human spirit!
Particular congratulations to “Comrades King” Bruce Fordyce for completing his 26th run!
I had the great privilege of working with this legend in my days at the Sports Trust and his passion for this event was still evident after his run.
Many editions ago, I wrote of my flying adventure in an Air Force Impala jet. Well, surprisingly, I have been invited back over the years to be master of ceremonies, guest speaker, auctioneer etc at the Chief of Air Forces benevolent golf day.
The fund does excellent work for less fortunate and disabled members of the Air Force and it’s always my pleasure to be involved.
Well, in pursuit of a distinguished flying career, it seems that not only have I scored a flip in a “Rooivalk” combat helicopter, but chances are that I may become an honorary member of the 87th mountain helicopter squadron known as the “Vultures.”
Phew, take that sports lovers, reach for the sky!
I was recently very honoured to be named as a “Nedbank Top Achiever” for my efforts in securing a much sought after soccer sponsorship (Nedbank Cup) in 2007.
Incidentally, Nedbank Brand Ambassador Oscar Pistorius was the guest speaker at the event and held a 1200 strong audience spellbound with his charm and charismatic manner.
Let me say that I work with an awesome team and felt very humbled to be named and pass all credit for my success to them.
BUT someone has to go accept the prize which is an all inclusive trip for winners and partners to Thailand for 8 days. I have had fittings for my “flesh coloured speedo”, ordered my bucket and spade and Eileen and I will be heading East on 09th July.
I will report back (with photos) in the next edition, bet you can’t wait!