Friday, January 15, 2010

South Africa look to climb Commonwealth table

South Africa's 2010 Commonwealth Games campaign kicked off in earnest on Saturday after the Queen's Baton Relay arrived in Johannesburg.

Having set a target of 12 medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, South Africa's Olympic governing body (Sascoc) has already earmarked the Commonwealth showpiece in New Delhi in October as the first major stepping stone to achieving that goal.

South Africa finished fifth at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, with 38 medals including 12 gold, but Sascoc president Gideon Sam said he hoped the team would improve on that position in New Delhi as the relay kicks off the nation's campaign in earnest.

“This arrival of the baton is just the beginning of our process to stabilise our own programmes and actions we're going to take on our way to Delhi,” Sam said.

“We can't just stay at number five, we need to move on. The whip will be cracked between now and when we get on that plane to Delhi.”

Deputy sports minister Gert Oosthuizen, echoed Sam, saying he also expected the team to improve their place on the medals table.

Australia topped the table in 2006 with a massive 221-medal haul, with England, Canada and India placing ahead of South Africa, who were the highest placed African nation.

“We can't be happy with the same place again,” Oosthuizen said, “and I certainly hope we will climb the ladder.”

Ahead of the 2006 Games, the Queen's Baton Relay covered only the Nelson Mandela Bay area, and this is the first time it will include other regions in South Africa, including Durban, Cape Town and the Free State.

The baton, which contains a message for the athletes from Queen Elizabeth II, left Buckingham Palace on October 29 last year and will arrive in the Indian capital ahead of the 12-day event after visiting all 71 participating nations.

The baton arrived from Mauritius on Saturday and leaves SA shores on Tuesday, with its next stop in Lesotho.

The 19th Commonwealth Games will be held between October 3-14 and includes 17 sporting disciplines.

1 comment:

Ravi Maggon said...
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