JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 31. AFTER a disappointing performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Swimming South Africa has had some internal battles go public as the country tries to right itself.
The organization distributed the following press release in answer to some of these issues.
The annual general meeting of Swimming South Africa, held in Johannesburg this weekend, resolved that as many Olympic swimmers as possible will be involved in a special debriefing session on the performance of the SA swimming team at the Beijing Olympics. The meeting, held on Saturday, 30 August, 2008, noted that while the team had not brought home the Olympic medals which many had hoped they would, they had nevertheless done superbly well.
"The swimmers set no fewer than 22 African records. If this had been the African Games, the country would have been over the moon. Realistically we need to understand that we are in a phase of consolidation and growth," according to the president of SSA, Jace Naidoo.
Naidoo acknowledged that there had been issues raised in the public domain, some of which involved personal complaints by individual swimmers, and others which involved the structures and planning, and the general team spirit.
These and other issues will be dealt with at the debriefing, which will take place at the National Short Course Championships to be held in Germiston from Thursday 4 September to Sunday 7 September.
Once the debrief has been held, consideration will be given by the executive of Swimming SA to the appointment of an independent person or persons (from outside SSA circles) to investigate the serious claims that have surfaced in the media, both today and last Sunday.
"The potential of our ever-widening swimming fraternity is too great to allow personal gripes, some of which may be unfounded, to stand in the way. If there is truth in any of the allegations, then similarly, the issues need to be addressed head-on and we are resolved to do that," said Naidoo.
He added that it would be futile to deal in public with individual allegations raised in a Sunday newspaper article because of the personal and harmful manner in which they have been raised.
"If there is truth in any of them, they will emerge in an objective investigation," he said.