Sascoc: There are no superstars in the Olympics
Tubby Reddy says the Olympic game culture doesn't allow for a superstar mentality.
JOHANNESBURG - South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) CEO Tubby Reddy has hit back at reports suggesting South Africa's golfers have pulled out of the Rio Olympics because of poor treatment towards their wives and caddies.
Numerous golfers have pulled out of Team SA citing multiple reasons, including fatigue and fears relating to the Zika virus, while some believe it's because the players' wives and athletes won't be properly taken care of whilst in Rio.
Reddy says the Olympic game culture doesn't allow for superstar mentality and everyone is treated equally: "If you're Roger Federer and you're representing the Swiss at the Games, you're an athlete. In golf, they're not used to this culture. In the Olympic games, as an athlete you stay in the village, your spouse can't stay with you. If you're a manager/coach, you stay there too."
The Sascoc CEO says this rule applies to all members of Team SA, and not just the athletes themselves: "Gary Player has been named as the captain/manager of the golf team. At one stage the notion was that he'd stay in a hotel. We said no, you have to stay in the village and fulfil the duties of being the manager of the golf team and he's understood that."
Reddy says while any athlete is well within his or her right to turn down the invitation, it does hurt the team when they pull out.
"When you look at athletes in terms of rankings, if they withdraw obviously it's a disappointment because your higher ranked athletes are probably the ones with more potential to win that the others."
He says if an athlete has concerns around the Zika virus, it's difficult to argue.
"When a guy says he's going to get married and start a family, those are important considerations because the Zika virus attacks women particularly in pregnancy. Males can carry it and it could surface two years from now, so there are genuine risks."
On Wednesday, the National Lottery Commission announced it will partner up with Sascoc to assist with the funding of athletes as they prepare for Rio 2016 and beyond.
The sponsorship is valued at R70 million and will go towards the delivery of Team SA to the Olympics, Paralympics, and the African Union Sports Council Games.