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Sam in the running

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Thursday November 10, 2011

SASCOC president Gideon Sam has put his name in the hat for one of the vice-president positions in the Commonwealth Games Federation and will know on Friday whether his bid has been successful.

Sam currently heads up our national Olympic governing body and is a veteran sports administrator, having been voted aboard in 2008. A man passionate about all sport he has headed the national swimming and triathlon federations previously and boxing is a particular favourite code of his.

Sam will be looking to further boost South Africa’s reputation for producing excellent sporting administrators.

“Since our return to the Commonwealth Games Federation, we have been held in high regard and here we must thank leaders like Mthobi Tyamzashe, Mluleki George, Mvuzo Mbebe and Hugo Olivier, who established a strong presence of South Africa’s thinking in the CGF. It is always an advantage to be closer to where the decision making takes place. We have always held strong views about the Commonwealth Games and we will continue to do so. South Africa can benefit from pushing for positions through a Board member without believing that it will always be listened to,” said Sam from St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean where the host city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be announced on Friday.

“I think our various sports administrators have proven over and over again that they can hold leadership positions at any level in international sport. We have many of our federation leaders serving on their international boards or committees. Sam Ramsamy is on the IOC Board and has represented SA with distinction. It was through his efforts that we were able to successfully host the 123rd IOC session in Durban earlier this year.

“When you are inside these international boards, you are afforded the opportunity to better understand the dynamics at play in international sport. We still want to host the Commonwealth Games sometime in the future and being on the top executive will help me to guide the country when the time comes to bid forward a bid to host the Games for the first time on the African continent.

“Nigeria tried to host the 2014 Games edition, but lost against Glasgow(Scotland). As a continent we have not given up the dream of hosting these Games.”

Sam is confident that should he win the bidding his new post would not affect his SASCOC responsibilities. “South African sport has always been blessed by leaders who work as a collective. There are many of us who make SA sport what it is today. One swallow does not make a summer and I am just a cog in a big sporting machine. So to be more direct, I will be better focused and not distracted.”

The Commonwealth Games Federation has two vice-presidents, both of whom have different roles. One focuses on the Sports Committee which is critical to the continued existence of the Games and weighs up opinions and views from various international stakeholders to determine the sports for the Games and that the Games remain manageable and also attractive to television. “The other vice-president oversees the marketing of the Games, a huge task because there are many editions of different Games, all wanting a slice of the disappearing sponsorship money. Apart from these tasks the vice-presidents assist the president in running the Games Federation, with the assistance of a full-time office under the CEO,” said Sam.

On his chances of success, Sam said he will take up a position on the touchlines. “One can never be too confident, but those who supported my nomination will vote, plus South Africa of course. A lot of horse trading goes on in these situations but I’ll allow our CEO Tubby Reddy to do all the work!”

The Commonwealth Games Federation is meeting on the Caribbean venue of St Kitts and Nevis where the host city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be announced. The two cities of Gold Coast (Australia) and Hambantoto (Sri Lanka) are bidding for the honour.

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