Team SA is hoping to make a historic impact at Glasgow 2014.
“As a nation, we are proud that on the five occasions that South Africa has competed to the Commonwealth Games since democracy, the medal tally has been very impressive,” said Tubby Reddy CEO of South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
“The 2014 Commonwealth Games are no exception; we hope to win more medals as our athletes compete with the spirit of Tata Madiba in mind, that of a winning nation and empowering themselves through sport.”
2014 is a big year for Glasgow and also for South Africa, which is celebrating 20 years since the end of apartheid and its return to the Commonwealth Games in 1994.
South Africa competed at 11 of the 19 Commonwealth Games, from the original Games in 1930 to 1958. South Africa then withdrew from the British Commonwealth because of apartheid, but was later re-admitted and participated in the Games in 1994 – the year of Nelson Mandela’s election.
“We would like firstly to take part in the Commonwealth Games,” Mandela said shortly after his inauguration, and Team SA did indeed attend the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games and each edition thereafter.
“All credit goes to the late Madiba’s uniting spirit who believed sports can unite the world and redefine a country’s international image,” said SASCOC in a statement. “Sport’s power to change lives and move nations is often overstated and whilst imprisoned, Madiba supported international sports.”
Freedom of Glasgow
Nelson Mandela had a strong connection with Glasgow. In 1981, during his long period of imprisonment, Glasgow Council awarded Mandela the Freedom of the City. Some years after his release Mandela travelled to Glasgow to thank the city, saying "While we were physically denied our freedom in the country of our birth, a city 6,000 miles away, and as renowned as Glasgow, refused to accept the legitimacy of the apartheid system, and declared us to be free."
Speaking to HOST CITY on Friday, Glasgow's Lord Provost Sadie Docherty said: "Glasgow is extremely proud to be part of the Nelson Mandela story. We were proud to be the first city in the world to honour him with a Freedom of the City award Nelson Mandela was a true political and moral icon. His lifelong quest to bring freedom, justice and equality to the people of South Africa cost him his own freedom for many years. The participation of the South African team in the Commonwealth Games is part of his legacy and I have no doubt the South African team will want to dedicate their performance to his memory."
The Commonwealth Games South Africa Chef De Mission, Patience Shikwambana attended the Chef De Mission Seminar in Glasgow from 28 January – 01 February. “The Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) is on track in their preparations for the Games. We visited some of the training facilities and competition venue facilities and they are of world class standard and it’s pleasing to note that our athletes should be happy to participate in such top of the range facilities.”