Skier Sive Speelman vying for a spot at the Winter Olympics.
DURBAN - Anxiety is mounting for Sive Speelman as he awaits confirmation on his participation in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month.

If he gets the go-ahead he will become South Africa’s first black alpine skier to compete at the Olympics, 

With the games due to commence on February 9 and having already received his invitation to participate from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the 23-year-old Speelman awaits the blessing of South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

The IOC’s invite came after Snow Sport South Africa motivated on behalf of Speelman, who hails from Barkly East in the Eastern Cape, a small rural town on the southern tip of the Drakensberg mountains. 

Sascoc was due to confirm his entry earlier this month but Speelman must wait for their  scheduled media briefing on Tuesday. 

In 2014 he also received an invitation from the IOC to compete in the Sochi Winter Olympics but Sascoc said that he did not meet the required standard. 

Speelman said the Sascoc call had crushed his dreams but he prayed that he would get their approval this time.

“I hope my bid will be accepted, but in the interim, the thought of not knowing has made me very anxious. Had I been given the opportunity to compete in 2014 it would have been great for my development and I believe I would have been able to grow,” said Speelman. 

Living in Barkly East has been to his advantage because it is among the few areas in the country that receive heavy snowfall.  Speelman’s skiing ability was discovered during a talent identification programme headed by national coach Alex Heath. 

Now Speelman uses his skills to promote the sport and to train other youngsters in his community.  He said being granted the opportunity to go to Korea would be the fulfilment of a dream.

“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I have submitted my bid and I am still awaiting feedback from Sascoc. The Olympics are just around the corner so I really hope there is a positive outcome,” said Speelman.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam said an announcement was expected to be made next week. 


SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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