Lifetime award for activist Sam Ramsamy
Anoc is the parent body for the National Olympic Committees of countries that participate in the Olympic Games, and South Africa is represented by Sascoc (SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) on this body.
The Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by Anoc secretary-general Gunilla Lindberg and recognised Ramsamy’s career that included almost 20 years of campaigning against discrimination in sport as chairperson of the South Africa Non-racial Olympic Committee.
Ramsamy said that receiving the award from Lindberg was a great honour. The two have worked together for many years.
“We have worked together on Olympism, the development of sport and non-racial issues,” Ramsamy said.
“We had an uphill struggle to get to where we are, especially regarding Olympism in the southern part of Africa, which was colonised for a very long time. The IOC helped us tremendously.
“These efforts helped Africa regain its respect and dignity which it enjoys today.”
Durban-based Erin Gallagher received the Best Female Athlete of the African Games Rabat 2019 for Swimming.
She said 2019 would be one of the most memorable years of her life, beginning with the Rabat Games.
“I never dreamed of winning 10 medals, and it was an experience I’ll cherish forever. Then to be recognised by Anoc is an unbelievable honour,” she said.
IOC member Anant Singh said he was thrilled to be present to see Ramsamy receive the Lifetime Achievement Award - which was a complete surprise for him.
“It was also special to see another Durbanite, Erin Gallagher, being honoured as well.
“I congratulate Sam and Erin on their magnificent and well-deserved achievements. It was great to be in the audience to witness two South Africans being honoured,” Singh said.
Commenting on the ceremony, IOC president Thomas Bach said he could not imagine someone more deserving than Ramsamy receiving the award.
“All his life he has been an excellent advocate of sport and human rights.
“He is a person who understood very early the role of sport in society and what a great contribution sport can make to education, health and peacefully living together.
“In this respect, I personally have learned a lot from him and am happy and proud to be able to call him my friend,” Bach said.