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Sam backtracks on Gay Games comments

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Sports boss Gideon Sam, who was taken to task for an alleged homophobic statement last week, has committed to building relations with the Federation of Gay Games.

After reading a Cape Argus news report last week, Mark Naimark, vice-president for external affairs at the Gay Games in Paris, wrote an open letter to Sam, president of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympics Committee (Sascoc).

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PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 20, Gideon Sam SASCOC President during the Paralympic team announcement from Olympic House on June 20, 2012 in Pretoria, South Africa Photo by Lee Warren / Gallo Images

The Cape Argus had reported on comments made by Sam at the Sports Industry Summit in Joburg. He allegedly said that Sascoc did not organise the Gay Games, and was only involved with “serious” sport.

Naimark said that he was “disturbed” by the comments, which were “derogatory” in his opinion.

Sam insisted he was misinterpreted and misquoted: “I was merely stating a fact – that Sascoc does not currently have an associate membership of any federation involved in the management and promotion of sport for gay people in the country… As Sascoc, we would be happy to engage with leaders of such a federation.”

Naimark latched on to this, suggesting a strengthening of relations between his organisation and South Africa. Sam promptly responded by expressing Sascoc’s willingness to build links with the Gay Games. – [email protected]

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