SA Airways to fly Olympic Team SA
11 April 2012
SA Airways (SAA) will be flying Team South Africa's athletes and officials to the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in July and August - and hopefully returning with some extra baggage of the gold, silver and bronze variety.
SAA and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) signed a sponsorship agreement at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday.
Speaking at the signing, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said that, for Team SA to make the country proud, "we need big business, state-owned enterprises and all interested parties to invest their time, energies and trust in the team to bring us those medals.
"We are hopeful that by the time the departure day comes, we would have had many companies knocking at the Team SA door to inject more resources."
SAA board chairperson Cheryl Carolus said that SAA, as the national carrier, had a long history of supporting national activities.
"This agreement is another significant contribution to our national efforts and our company's mission of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world," Carolus said.
"As the national carrier, we are thus honoured to support Team South Africa by flying them to London - backing them all the way in true South African style."
Sascoc president Gideon Sam thanked SAA, adding: "I have to say that patience is indeed a virtue. We have been 'courting' SAA for some time now, although we were obviously mindful that the current economic situation worldwide is impacting on all businesses.
"A chance meeting with the SAA chairperson created that gap for us to raise the matter again," Sam said.
"She was adamant that it would be over her dead body that the pride of South Africa would be transported to and from the Games on a foreign carrier. The rest is history, and here we are today to say thank you to a most welcome new partner.
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