If swimmer Roland Schoeman were serious about being involved in the design of the next Olympic team’s gear, he would have to fork out R25-million. This is according to SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee president Gideon Sam.
Sam, who has refused to discuss the tracksuits, said the contract with kit sponsor Chinese manufacturer 361 Degrees was worth more than R20-million. It runs until the 2020 Olympics.
Sam said: “It’s a four-year cycle.
“Anybody that wants to come forward now must say: ‘I have more than R25-million, let me sponsor you.’ Then they can decide even where they want to get the tracksuit cut and where they want to get it manufactured. South Africans must understand it is not their money, it is the sponsors’ [money]. All over the world there is a lot of 361 Degrees because those Chinese guys are not scared to put their money on the table.”
His comments follow criticism from South Africans regarding the baggy team tracksuits.
Javelin silver medallist Sunette Viljoen laid into Sascoc on Twitter, tweeting: “Had to pay out of my own pocket for my Olympic kit to be adjusted by a tailor.”
Viljoen also asked that the R70-million received from the National Lotteries Commission be investigated.
Sam denied any of the athletes had voiced dissatisfaction with the kit. Sascoc issued a statement expressing its “surprise and disappointment” regarding Viljoen’s allegations.
“Viljoen’s desire to be the champion of voiceless athletes rings hollow as she has been unable to provide any substantive evidence. [She] is disingenuous when she falsely claims athletes are afraid to speak out for fear of victimisation or withdrawal of [Operation Excellence] funding.”
Viljoen tweeted she wasn’t only referring to herself but to athletes who weren’t receiving financial support from Sascoc.
Story by TimesLIVE