Can SA reach the World Hall of Fame?

Andy Scott is Head of Sponsorship for the Nedbank Group and is also involved in the promotion of disabled sport in South Africa.

Happy New Year to all our Rolling Inspiration readers! May 2007 be a real blast and hopefully bring peace and prosperity to all South Africans, and indeed the world at large.

I spent my happy holidays essentially immobilised, having had surgery to my right arm where work was done on my cubital tunnel (elbow), carpel tunnel (wrist) and a trigger release (hand). All in all a little painful and very inconvenient, but I am on the mend and hoping to be up and about by mid-January.

December started very well with the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.  Being a “worker” there this year gave me a new perspective on the sheer magnitude and organisation of this world class event. After talking to some of the golfers, they rank it as one of the most well organised events on the international golfing calendar, and could not shower enough accolades! Well done to all at Sun City for a sporting spectacle that South Africa can be proud of!

Contributions Are My Pleasure

I got back from the golf and was off to a black tie affair at Emperors Palace for the inaugural South African Sports Hall of Fame induction. To my complete surprise, I was inducted for a combination of my sporting achievements (so long ago) and my more recent contributions to sport for the disabled, which has really been a pleasure and something I had simply wanted to do. So, to be honoured in this way was quite special.

For me, the real highlight was being inducted along with sporting luminaries that included Gary Player, Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Bruce Fordyce, Penny Heyns, Sydney Maree and Baby Jake Matlala, amongst others.

The Hall of Fame inductions will now become an annual event, with a lot of catching up to do for the organisers. The only downside for me was the fact that it became fairly politicised in the speeches, and what surely should have been a celebration turned into a constant reminder of the past. Time to move on, good people, healing does take time!

On the lighter side of it all, while reading the article on myself in the commemorative book, I discovered that, apparently amongst my accolades, I was a “hockey goal keeper” in my heyday! Well, bully for me I say. I simply can’t remember that part. I was, however, the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Boys under 10 wheelbarrow race champion, and that never got a mention!

Talking about sport: Being ‘man down’ in front of the TV for most of December, I can’t recall ever watching so much sport in such a short time. From golf to soccer, cricket and rugby, and pretty much anything else that was on, I simply hogged the channels!

The 5 – 0 drubbing in the Ashes Cricket Test Series (Aussies over England) was really something special to watch, especially since we should remember that England are pegged at no. 2 in the world test rankings. This Australian team will surely go down in sport history as one of the greatest of all time. Despite three of their great players retiring, they will continue their winning ways as there is so much depth in Australian sport. You see, they have got the system right, and it is one that so many countries can, and should be, learning from. South Africa too, has earned some great results recently. Certainly, the Proteas’ test series win against India showed huge character in team captain Graham Smith and his men.

I also watched a lot of the IPC World Swimming Championships staged in Durban in December, where “Wonder Woman” Natalie du Toit excelled in all her events once again. Veteran champion Tadhg Slattery proved that he still has one more Paralympic Games in him. Some of the new kids on the block proved that we can still be a force in the future.

Wake up, Government!

A big “Well Done” to the organisers, and in particular to Alison Burchell, general manager of DISSA, for a great job indeed! It was so sad that the event was marred and overshadowed by a rape incident on the beach front. This despicable and unforgivable act reverberated around the world to South Africa’s great detriment. It once again showcased this country’s appalling crime rate. Wake UP government! It may already be too late, for as the cancer spreads, it becomes incurable!

So, 2007 is upon us and what a sporting feast lies ahead. I won’t sit on the fence! I reckon it will be South Africa that takes the ICC Cricket World Cup (remember what they did to Aussie at the Wanderers in 2006) and New Zealand (All Blacks) for the IRB Rugby World Cup.

Time has passed so quickly that we can now say the Paralympic and Olympic Games happen “next year!” This is a daunting prospect that will require much hard work if the South African flag and Anthem are to be a common sight and sound in the arenas of the “Greatest Show on Earth”.

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