Monday, December 05, 2005

One of the greatest acts of SA sporting patriotism ever?

Roland Schoeman has turned down Quatar's R20m offer to swim for them at the next Olympics.

In my previous post I mentioned that I would fully understand his decision if he had accepted the offer.

His statement makes him the hero of legendary proportions:

Schoeman pledges loyalty to SA
05/12/2005 12:19 - (SA)


Johannesburg - Swimming sensation Roland Schoeman has rejected a multi-million dollar offer from the Gulf state of Qatar and opted to continue swimming for South Africa.

"After serious and thorough consideration I have decided to stand by my initial decision not to swim for Qatar.

"I have given instructions that the negotiations following the second approach from Qatar to swim for them should not be pursued any further," said Schoeman through a statement read by Swimming South Africa (SSA) president Jace Naidoo in Johannesburg on Monday.

Qatar, known for offering athletes lucrative packages to become adopted citizens, had approached Schoeman earlier this year but the Pretoria swimmer declined.

Last month Qatar made another offer which would have certainly inflated Schoeman's bank account and there were fears from SSA that Schoeman would take the offer considering how Schoeman has been in the past about the lack of financial reward in the sport.

Schoeman made it clear, though, that no amount of money would make him change his nationality and that taking the Qatar offer would have been a short term gain.

"The stability and democracy we (South Africa) have attained thus far has not been founded on pursuing short term gains.

"It has been based on a willingness to seek long term solutions to promote the well being of all the people of South Africa. I believe that this should be true for me as well.

"While I am significantly poorer today than I could have been, I feel tremendously blessed that it is Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika that will be played if I win a gold medal," Schoeman's statement read.

Naidoo praised Schoeman for his patriotism also giving an indication that Schoeman could possibly be the man to lead the South African swimming contingent to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia next year.

"Throughout this entire saga, Roland has acted in forthright and honest manner and with integrity towards Swimming South Africa. For this he must be commended.

"We now look forward to building on the recent success of Athens 2004 and the World Championships this year and preparing for Commonwealth Games," Naidoo said.

Truly inspirational.


Why I said ‘no’ to millions from Qatar - I’m just a proud South African, writes ROLAND SCHOEMAN of his decision to reject a deal to swim for the oil-rich Arab state. It would have meant big money — but he wants to go on swimming for SA


jim said...

Certainly gets my vote as exceptional. But in line with the exceptional person he seems to be. The question that "drives me mad" (not really :) as I think I know the answer) is why Ryk Neethling decided to go on record in Australia about Roland's potential defection. Did you all notice the carefully phrased "We were both approached and I said no but Roland appears to be thinking of going". Whereas it is clear that Ryk and Roland BOTH said no to the initial approach from Qatar. Qatar was happy to leave Ryk to swim for South Africa (no surprise there) but got back to Roland with an even higher offer (no surprise there either). Would you think there was a (very incompetent) bit of malicious mischief making there? I think Swimming SAs statement that Roland had acted with openess, honesty and integrity throughout the process may have been a bit of a veiled dig at our (not so open and honest) Rykie boytjie.

It is the question said...

Hey Jim

I think Ryk is a fantastic poster boy for sport in SA.

But I think it must be hard being Roland - based in the US, less "model-looking" than Ryk, he attracts less attention than Ryk, and I am sure, less money - despite being the better athlete.

I don't know if Ryk was taking a dig at Roland - I hope not. We have the olympic medal for the relay - we need a united team.

tripeak said...

I just happened to catch a couple minutes of an interview with Ryk on the Showbiz Report (etv) and it was so funny where they asked him if he sees himself as a metro-sexual... did anyone else catch that? LMFAO!!