Aug 31, 2012
Recipe for sporting successBack
Gold|London|Africa|Fire|Training|Africa|South Africa|Uganda|Equipment|Fancy Equipment|Anaso Jobodwana|Lehann Fourie|Stephen Kiprotich|Sunette Viljoen|2012 Olympic Games|Olympics|The Olympics|Canoeing|Javelin
© Reuse this
Each Olympics event seems to be bigger and more complex than the previous one, with all sorts of sports unfolding in parallel. What this means is that there is a huge variety of sports for athletes to choose from. So, in principle, any young athlete from around the world can find some sport to suit his or her talents.
One thing that also showed again at these Olympics is that international sporting events bring the population of the whole country together. When one athlete succeeds, the whole country celebrates. This should emphasise to the sporting authorities just how impor- tant sport is to the whole country. Just one person winning an event causes mass reaction.
In the excitement of the games, there have been various calls to spend much more money on training facilities for athletes. I have mixed feelings about this.
If there is one thing that came out time and again is that virtually every medal winner from any country emphasised the total dedication needed to succeed. All the expensive training equipment and facilities in the world are not going to help someone who does not have total dedication. Athletes spoke of getting up at 5:00 every day to train for a couple of hours, and also training during the night and over weekends. No fancy equipment is going to induce someone to get up at 5:00 on a cold morning if he or she does not have the fundamental fire of desire.
If we want to win more medals in future, what we have to do, initially, is to hunt for talent all over the country. We have to hunt for the spirit of dedication. Once the fire to achieve has been found, we must then invest in nurturing the person. So, what we have to do is to bring sport to many learners all over the country. They do not need fancy equipment – just an opening break. They need to be shown videos of people achieving. They need to meet Olympic athletes, if possible, to discover that, when you meet them face to face, they do not look superhuman, but radiate excitement.
Uganda won its second medal in its history when Stephen Kiprotich beat a strong Kenyan team to win the men’s Olympic Marathon. I doubt if Kiprotich, or the Kenyans, achieved that because of loads of expensive equipment back home. Perhaps, as a strategy, we need to get Kiprotich here to run in the Comrades Marathon so that young folks can see the gold medallist and be inspired.
I doubt if the Jamaicans have loads of expensive facilities back home but look how well they did in the sprints. There must now be a whole bunch of young Jamaicans running races in the streets, dreaming of being the next Olympic ‘Bolt of Lightning’.
Certainly, once budding stars have been discovered, give them special treatment. The first essential is a coach to take them in hand and to train not only the physical attributes but also the game plan and strategy. These days, nobody wins on physical prowess alone. In the woman’s 800 m race, Caster Semenya came second, but as I watched I was horrified to see her running in last place at the beginning. She then accelerated but it was very late. It looked as if, had there been another 100 m in the race, she would have won. That seemed to me to be poor execution of running tactics and game plan. I have no idea what coaching advice she had been given but, to me, something was lacking.
Bridgitte Hartley picked up a bronze medal in canoeing. She now needs to be used as a role model to find and inspire others, but also needs any professional support she can be given to, perhaps, move up the ranks for the next Games, in Rio, in 2016. The same goes for javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen, who finished fourth. Special training plans need to be developed for 200 m sprinter Anaso Jobodwana and 110 m hurdler Lehann Fourie, who both showed that they have the makings of medals in 2016.
Provide these people with all the facilities and support, and also let them interact with other young hopefuls to inspire them.
We also need much more domestic competition. We need to see more athletics on TV. We need to see more of these sports generally and induce more spec- tators to not only attend but also cheer and shout. Such action would be for the entertainment of spectators and also to ‘spread the word’ to find those hidden gems who will become the dedicated stars of the future. I am sure that they are out there – we have to find them.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...