Be Unstoppable in Rio Olympic teams SA
22 July 2016
A farewell gala dinner was hosted on 22 July 2016 for the South African Olympic and Paralympic teams who will be participating in the upcoming Rio Olympics. The Olympics officially opens on 5 August and the Paralympics on 7 September.
The teams were encouraged by guest speakers on the evening that South Africans fully supported them and would celebrate all their achievements at the Games.
Photo: Pictured at the Gala Dinner are (l-r) Mr. Sam Ramsamy, Board member of SASCOC/ Member of the International Olympic Committee, Mr. Elkhan Polukhov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan and Mr. Andrei Molchan, Ambassador of Belarus
Addressing guests Ahmed Kathrada, former Robben Island prisoner and political activist emphasized that sport is a great unifying factor. He said that even on Robben Island the prisoners participated in sports. In sport, he said, people are united in a winning course. "May our Olympic and Paralympic teams celebrate success and victory after victory," he said.
SASCOC President Gideon Sam said that support lifts an athlete and a team to perform and achieve. "Let us be unstoppable in Rio and remember whenever our sports perform, the nation is happy. Go to Rio knowing that people are behind you and love you. Whether it’s on TV or radio or social media, we we will be following you," he said.
At the dinner Wayde van Niekerk was confirmed as South Africa’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The 24-year-old Van Niekerk is expected to be a strong contender for a gold medal in the men’s 400 meter event after beating all his rivals at the World Championships in Beijing last year.
Meanwhile, Sascoc also confirmed that Paralympic javelin thrower Zanele Situ will carry the South African flag at the Paralympics, which will take place in Rio following the Olympics.