SOUTH AFRICA GEARS UP FOR THE OLYMPICS
Last Updated: 2012-06-25
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PRETORIA, June 25 (NNN-BUANEWS) -- With just a month before the opening of the 2012 Olympics, work is underway to ensure that Team South Africa will do the country proud at the Games.

The London Olympic Games will take place from July 27 to Aug 12, followed by the Paralympic Games to be held from Aug 29 to Sept 9, 2012.

Work is well underway to prepare the team, while the government has launched the Magnificent Fridays campaign to mobilise national support for Team South Africa.

With recent reports highlighting the use of banned substances amongst athletes, Deputy Minister of Sport Gert Oosthuizen says his department has always supported the Institute for Drug-Free Sport's aim to aggressively tackle doping in sport while spreading the message of ethics and fair play.

Although a positive test was always disappointing, Oosthuizen said some athletes used these stimulants unaware that they were banned.

Speaking during a briefing by the Governance and Administration Cluster of departments here Friday, the minister said his department, with its partners, would continue to rigorously reach out and educate athletes about banned substances and the dangers of doping.

According to the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport, the increase in positive results was due to the widespread availability of sports supplements that contain banned substances like anabolic steroids, pro hormones and stimulants.

Advertising and marketing of these products are widespread and prays on the performance anxiety of athletes, with the products being promoted as an instant solution to improved performance.

Switching the focus to sport at school level, the Chairperson of the Governance and Administration Cluster and Home Affairs (Interior) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said the School Sports Leagues, which aim to increase the athlete base in the country and improve the talent pool, was gaining momentum. Already, 11 000 schools have registered for participation.

Other projects include the appointment of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Recreation to research best practice in recreation delivery, and norms and standards on the delivery and maintenance of recreational facilities in the country.

The cluster would continue with its efforts of ensuring a transformed sport and recreation sector, which will open opportunities for youth to participate actively in sport and recreation.
This, according to Dlamini Zuma, would also lead to better representation and performing national teams. -- NNN-BUANEWS