Though the governing body admits it has faced multiple internal battles in the build-up to the Games, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) remains confident that athletes will be given sufficient opportunity to fine-tune for the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo later this season.
Following an independent inquiry last year which found the Sascoc board to be dysfunctional, the Olympic body had been told by government it would not receive full funding for team delivery to the Games if it did not make various changes to its structure and constitution.
Five months ahead of the Olympics, and six months before the Paralympics were set to get under way, acting Sascoc president Barry Hendricks insisted on Tuesday they were on track to send full-strength squads to both quadrennial showpieces.
“We have the funds to prepare,” Hendricks said at a function celebrating the 500-day countdown to the Paralympics.
“In recent meetings with Lotto and the Department of Sport, they have given their encouragement as well as their support.”
Sascoc was expecting a relatively small squad of around 51 athletes to compete in 11 codes at the Paralympics in August, with the SABC confirming it would broadcast the Games live, along with its coverage of the Olympics to be held a few weeks earlier.
And while government had given the nod for Lotto to provide crucial financial support in order to deliver South African teams to both multi-sport spectacles, Hendricks admitted that funding remained a long-term concern for the national Olympic body.
He nonetheless believed they had sufficient resources to deliver on their mandate.
“Yes, we are cash strapped, but that’s not the essence of Sascoc,” he said.
“It’s about whether we can deliver quality teams, and we are doing our best to turn this organisation and its image around.”