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'Pool at SA Nationals an embarassment'

Sascoc's Gideon Sam says the green and dirty pool at the SA Nationals is an embarrassment.

The green pool at the SA Nationals in Port Elizabeth. Picture: Jean Smyth/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gideon Sam, President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), on Thursday told Eyewitness News Sport the events that took place at the SA Nationals Swimming Championships are an absolute embarrassment.

Sam will touch down in the Eastern Cape on Friday to meet with the MEC to talk about issues around sport in the province.

Sam said only perfection is expected at this level.

"It definitely is an embarrassment for all involved because when these people bid for events you expect them to go out there and prepare thoroughly. In the pool, outside the pool, spectator-wise, security, everything must be in place."

Meanwhile, Swimming South Africa (SSA) is confident the swimming pool at Newtown Park will be in perfect condition by later on Thursday.

The swimming body has been under immense pressure recently after events were called off twice due green murky water.

CEO of SSA Shaun Adriaanse said there should be no issues with the pool by Thursday.

"Hopefully it will be in a good condition. The pipe that actually burst was a pipe that feeds the whole area where the pool is located. It will be repaired by 1pm."

Adriaanse said he still can't see why blame has been placed on SSA.

"I've heard a lot of people blamed SSA, but I don't understand how they can relate equipment failure that is run by the municipality to SSA. We've taken a positive approach and engaged with all the stakeholders, especially the municipality and they're pulled out all stops."

South Africa's elite swimmers like Chad Le Clos and Cameron Van Der Burgh won't be as affected as most of the lesser known participants.

The Olympic gold medalists have numerous sponsors and will have other opportunities to swim abroad and qualify elsewhere.

Younger swimmers looking for their big break might not have another chance to qualify for the World Championships.

Adriaanse said that in general, feedback from those affected has been positive.

"Not everyone is 100 percent happy, but we will have to look at other opportunities and possibly consider selection criteria other than these championships. Other than that the feedback from swimmers and parents has been very supportive."

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