JOHANNESBURG - Hellbent on sparing athletes the ridicule of wearing ‘ninja turtle’ tracksuit, Sascoc’s athletes’ commission made sure they instilled a sense of pride for the team going to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April.
Olympic and Paralympic legend Natalie du Toit presented the full range of kit the athletes would be wearing at the Games. The partial sponsorship with Lotto, a sports clothing manufacturer, proved to be a welcome departure from the baggy clothing South Africa sported at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“No-one is more aware than us of the past controversies surrounding some of the team kits at previous multi-code events,” said Sascoc president Gideon Sam. “With this in mind, we have asked the people that count, the athletes, to play an integral part in the kit design.
“National sports legend Natalie du Toit, now head of the Athlete's Commission at SASCOC, drove this project and I think that today the phrase 'a picture is worth a thousand words' is particularly apt.”
Sascoc came under fire for the tracksuits, manufactured by Chinese manufacturer 361 Degrees, that made the athletes resemble ninja turtles.
“We chose to be as inclusive as possiblewe wanted to try and prepare pieces of clothing that would match all-around,” Du Toit said. “We didn’t want to look like Australia or look like the Green Monster either."
Sam revealed that the incentives for medals, which would be covered by funding from the National Lottery Committee, would increase from the previous Games.
Gold medallists would receive R55 000, silver would earn athletes R25 000 while a bronze medal was worth R15 000. The coaches would also be incentivised with gold valued at R12 500, silver at R7500 and R5000 for bronze.
“The NLC came in now saying ‘here is an extra R5.3 million’ over and above what we would get during the course of the application stage,” Sam said. “This is a special contribution that will assist us for the Commonwealth Games and the Department of Sports and Recreation would do the same.”
Meanwhile, final additions to the team were announced. The team will be boosted by gymnasts, a men’s 4×100-metre relay quartet and three extra track and field athletes while the men’s Sevens squad were also added
The 4x100m relay team will consist of Anaso Jobodwana along with Clarence Munyai, Henricho Bruintjies and Emile Erasmus Stephen Mokoka will complete in the 10,000m.
Sascoc said relay athletes would be able to enter for individual events as long as they did not take up the place of someone who already qualified. This means Team SA could have a full complement of 100m sprinters which would consist of Akani Simbine, Erasmus and Bruintjies while Jobodwana and Munyai could have a go in the half-lap sprint.
Throwers Jaco Engelbrecht in the shot put and hammer thrower Tshepang Makhete will complete the track and field team. Rhythmic gymnasts Grace Legote and Chris-Marie van Wyk and Naveen Daries in the artistic discipline have been included in the squad.