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Socga elections on the horizon

socga President gopalSeychelles Olympics is governed by the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga), an association that has proven to be one of the pillars towards the progress of sports in country. As such, being a member of this association is a huge responsibility and with the executive committee elections coming soon, there could be some changes to its composition.

Socga’s annual general meeting (AGM) will take place on Saturday March 25, where the election for a new executive committee will also take place.

According to Socga’s secretary general Alain Alcindor, it is the various federations who nominate candidates for the posts and these names will be put forward at the AGM when those present will cast their votes for the executive committee.

While Mr Alcindor was not at liberty to give us the names of the other nominees put forward, he did reveal that he himself will once more be among the nominees as he seeks a further four-year mandate.

The current president of the association is Antonio Gopal who has held the post since 1992. Hugh Adam is the vice-president, while Alain Alcindor holds the position of secretary general. The treasurer of the association is Mary Banane. Other ordinary members currently on the Socga executive committee include Michel Bau, Donald Celestine, Simon Lespoir, Tracy Hetimier and Selby Dora.

Sports NATION contacted Socga president Gopal, but he declined to make any comments regarding the election as well as the role of Socga and its future targets.

Seychelles officially joined the Olympic family back in 1979 and the country has since competed in nine Olympic Games, starting with the 1980 Games in Moscow and most recently the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. The country has yet to win an Olympic medal.

Socga, formerly known as the Seychelles National Olympic Committee (Snoc), is the offspring of a long struggle undertaken by a group of determined Seychellois men and women to bring about a truly representative sport and Olympic movement in Seychelles. Although Seychelles is a small country which only became independent in 1976, Seychelles sport has achieved excellent results internationally in different sporting events like the Commonwealth Games, the All-Africa Games, the Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG), the African Athletics Championship, and the African Boxing Championship among others.

In fact, Seychelles made its first participation in a major international Games in 1979. That was at the first Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG) in Reunion. The results of Seychellois athletes were so good that everyone started talking about the country making its debut at the Olympic Games in Moscow, Soviet Union, the following year (1980).

To be able to take part in the Olympic Games, Seychelles needed to have an Olympic committee and it had to be affiliated with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). At this point stemmed the idea of Seychelles having its Olympic committee. Fired with the prospect of Seychelles’ involvement in the international arena, John Pillay and his team immediately started the ball rolling by making enquiries about the procedures to join the IOC.

He joined with other sports-minded and influential persons like Antonio Gopal, Simon Lespoir, Rene Youpa, Walter Fernandez and Rose-Marie Uranie requesting them to take part in the initial formation and the establishment of Snoc with the objective of getting Seychelles to take part in the 1980 Moscow Olympiad.

Pillay’s reign at the head of Socga lasted only three years (1979 to 1982) and he was succeeded by John Mascarenhas (1982 to 1991). The current president of the association, Mr Gopal has been at the head of Socga since 1992 and is the longest serving Socga president to date, although we do not know if he will be running for re-election this year.

While being the body that runs Olympic activities in the country, Socga also runs the Commonwealth Games events as well for Seychelles and thus receives support from both international organisations, which in turn directly helps to develop our athletes.

The most prestigious of these support is perhaps the Olympic scholarships, which assist athletes nominated by Socga with high level preparation for their Olympic Games appearance.

The mission of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) is to develop, promote and protect the Olympic movement in their respective countries.

The NOCs promote the fundamental principles of Olympism at a national level within the framework of sports. NOCs are committed to the development of athletes and support the development of sport for all programmes and high performance sport in their countries. They also participate in the training of sports administrators by organising educational programmes.

Another objective of the NOCs is to ensure that athletes from their respective nations attend the Olympic Games. Only an NOC is able to select and send teams and competitors to the Olympic Games.

NOCs also supervise the preliminary selection of potential bid cities. Before a candidate city can compete against those in other countries, it first must win the selection process by the NOC in its own country. The NOC can then name that city to the IOC as a candidate to host the Olympic Games.

There are currently 206 NOCs over five continents, although Kuwait is suspended since 2015.

 Source : Seychelles NATION

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