Neethling urges young swimmers to work harder

Ryk Neethling says SA’s future medal hopefuls need to be groomed for greatness.

FILE: Ryk Neethling. Picture: Official Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - South African swimming champion Ryk Neethling says today's youth sports stars need to be nurtured into potential champions for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Durban now looks likely to host the 2022 games, after Edmonton pulled out of the bidding process, leaving Durban as the only city left in the running.

Neethling, who competed at four Commonwealth Games, says South Africa's future medal hopes need to be groomed for greatness.

"We really need to look after the kids that are between 12 years and about 18 years. Those kids are going to be in the prime, so we really have to go and develop programmes for them to keep them in the sport and motivated."

Neethling says we need to have the best sportsmen and sportswomen come 2022 and it will take hard work and commitment to achieve all this.

"They have to start with a group of at least 60 swimmers and really put all their effort and offer their best to the coaches. You don't win an Olympic or Commonwealth medal in just 2 years, it's going to take at least 5 to 6 years to develop those people."

He says they need to make sure athletes are given the support they need but beyond that more work needs to be done by those with tremendous amount of talent to impart the skills.

"We can't rely on luck and on friends and family to support the swimmers anymore. I think we've got the talent but the real programmes and people with experience need to be involved."


The Commonwealth Games are held every four years and feature athletes from over 50 countries.

The next event will be held on Australia's Gold Coast in 2018.

The host site for the 2022 Commonwealth Games is scheduled to be made in September.

Edmonton has already hosted the Games once before, in 1978, while Canada also hosted the inaugural Games in 1930 (Hamilton) as well as 1954 (Vancouver) and 1994 (Victoria).