JOHANNESBURG, (Xinhua) — The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) on Tuesday announced a strong team to take part in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The team was announced at a press conference in Johannesburg. The 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place on April 4-15. South Africa will compete in 16 sports, including athletics, badminton, bowls, boxing, cycling, wrestling, weightlifting and gymnastics. SASCOC president Gideon Sam said they want to improve their performance from the last games.
“You will see that it’s a great blend of experience and raw talent and I am confident we will once again be right up there with the cream of Commonwealth countries and look to improve on our seventh place on the medals table in Glasgow four years ago. I urge every athlete to go to Australia and be the very best athlete [they] can be and fly the rainbow nation’s flag high,” Sam said.
The acting SASCOC CEO, Patience Shikwambana expressed hope that Team South Africa would do better at the 2018 Games. “I believe we have a strong team with established stars who have excelled exceptionally on the international arena including at the renowned events such as the Olympics, Paralympics and previous Commonwealth Games as well,” Shikwambana said.
After South Africa’s admission into the global sports family in 1994, the country has participated six times in the Commonwealth Games. They have finished fifth on the medals table on three occasions. That was in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in 1998, Melbourne (Australia) in 2006 and New Delhi (India) in 2010.
At the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, South Africa won 40 medals including 13 golds, 10 silvers and 17 bronzes. “It is my hope that the team improves on the medals count South Africa achieved in Glasgow in 2014 so that we continue to progress in our performances and build a stronger brand on the international front,” Shikwambana said,
The Chef de Mission and project manager of the team Ezera Tshabangu said that for the first time the selection process had been the tough one. According to Tshabangu, for the first time the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had a hybrid selection process where some sports had open selection processes while others had a specific criteria set by them and the International Sports Federations. “The High Performance Commission played a key role in assessing every name put forward for consideration before making recommendations to the board,” Tshabangu said.