Team SA must help pay for world champs

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iol spt oct11 Le Clos REUTERS South Africas swimming team will have to contribute towards the costs of attending the World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, in December.

Johannesburg – Despite winning the most medals in South Africa's 2012 Olympic campaign, the swimming team will have to contribute towards the costs of attending the World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, in December.

Swimming SA (SSA) president Jace Naidoo on Thursday confirmed the 25 member team selected for the championships would have to fork out between R7000 and R8000 each to be able to participate.

“It is not an ideal situation but the reality is that it costs R25 000 per athlete for flights and accommodation,” Naidoo said.

“The team was also much bigger than previous teams as we have chosen to blood some youngsters.”

The swimming federation had been in dire straits since Telkom pulled its sponsorship at the end of 2011.

Despite the overwhelming success of Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh at the London Olympics, SSA was still struggling to find a corporate sponsor.

Le Clos surprised everyone when he beat world record Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly and followed up with a silver medal in the 100m butterfly.

Van der Burgh won South Africa's first medal of the Games in the 100m breaststroke final in a world-record time.

The duo's performances signalled South Africa's most successful Games in the pool since the country's readmission to the Olympics in 1992.

Naidoo said SSA were in talks with possible partners and he was hopeful they would soon secure a sponsor.

“We've approached a few corporates after Telkom and we are currently in discussions with one or two of them,” he said.

“It might come through but, as it stands, the funds come largely from National Lottery and the Department of Sport to cover the costs of these competitions.”

The amount of money from the Lottery had also been significantly reduced.

Where they relied on an R8 million injection in the past, they now only received R1.5 million.

Meanwhile, Naidoo said SSA would send a small team to Australia in January where they would come up against international competition.

All costs, however, would be covered by Australia who had secured a sponsorship for the event. – Sapa

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