Factors promoting and hindering sporting success among South African former Olympians from historically disadvantaged areas
There are various contributing factors to sporting success among elite athletes, including Olympians. The purpose of this paper was to investigate the enablers and/or barriers to sporting success among South African former Olympians from historically disadvantaged areas (HDAs) using the SPLISS framework. This would enable an understanding of the factors that lead to sporting success among athletes from HDAs. A qualitative research design was employed for this study, whereby semi-structured interviews were conducted among 15 former Olympians who represented South Africa between the 1992 and 2016 Olympic Games. The ATLAS.ti (version 22) software tool was used to analyse the data. The study found that athletes from HDAs attributed their sporting success to the functional competition structure, sports access at community level, access to scholarships and bursaries to elite schools/universities, good coaching support and mentorship, access to local and international competitions, as well as community and peer athlete support. The highest barriers reported by athletes were inadequate financial support, a dysfunctional school sport system, lack of sports facilities, equipment and transport system, poor post-career and scientific support. Elite athletes from HDAs need consistent financial support, school/foundation level sport access, quality sports facilities, equipment, and reliable transport to training and competitions, post-career, as well as scientific support to achieve their full potential and attain international sporting success.
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