A medical allowance, R10,000, takkies, and four boxes of mieliepap were the only monthly form of sponsorship the four members of South Africa’s 2012 Olympic gold rowing team received.
"When we won the gold medal last year, I never thought we would struggle to get financing,” Sizwe (Lawrence) Ndlovu, a member of the rowing team, told Beeld on Monday.
The other three team members were James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, and John Smith.
According to Ndlovu, several presentations had been made to potential sponsors, but none of them were successful.
"We’re rowers, so there’s not much room for a company to display its logo. At least, that’s what they told us.” The team did not have enough money to participate in next month’s World Cup event in Australia, Ndlovu said.
"We will probably also not be able to take part in the world championship in South Korea. It will be a huge setback for our preparation for the Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.” A boat builder in Italy had built the South African team a boat, but there was no money to get it to South Africa.
Ndlovu said he was surviving solely on a monthly allowance from the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee. He had to row full-time, he said, otherwise he would not make the 2016 Olympic team.
"I do not want to be rich, I just want to do what I’m passionate about and still survive.” - Sapa