George Stainton, the newly elected President (changed from Chairman to conform to international terminology) of the South African National Climbing Federation (SANCF), is an experienced sports administrator and an avid “fish & chips” rock climber.
As a sportsman George was a canoeist multi gold medallist, a provincial canoe-polo player and rugby player. Other sports that he actively participated in are hiking, diving (commercial and leisure), spear fishing, triathlons, water polo, surf-ski racing, lifesaving and both track and long distance athletics.
As a sports administrator he has since 1986, been directly involved either in a full time or part time capacity, in a number of sporting codes including canoeing, rugby, football, swimming and recently climbing. These positions have included senior commercial positions at Ellis Park, Moses Mabhida Stadium and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Growing up in the KZN Midlands he developed his passion for the outdoors and after learning the “commercial business ropes” in Durban he made the trek over The Berg to Johannesburg where for the past 18 years he has made home. Through his daughter’s climbing he reconnected with climbing and the outdoors and now spends as much time in Waterval Boven, his “spiritual” home, as possible.
He believes that sports administration requires clear structures within which to operate. As a number of sports are run by committed part-timers, this makes it even more important to spread the load and have clear portfolios in which to administer, grow and develop the sport.
Competitive and structured Indoor Sports Climbing is a relatively new sport and with the IFSC and Sport Climbing recognised by the I.O.C, the opportunities for South Africans to compete at the highest level on the highest stage is there.
For SA to be competitive at international events we need to look at Climbers as competitive athletes and condition and train them accordingly. This requires committed well informed coaches, international standard facilities, including experienced route setters, across the three Sport Climbing disciplines, Lead, Bouldering and Speed and importantly financial support. The latter will only be consistently achieved if the SANCF and its Members (Provinces) have clear well managed structures and operate within the requirements as laid down by SASCOC. This will ensure SASCOC membership and attract Sport Grants and Corporate Sponsorship as the sport will be seen as being representative of the whole country with clear governance guidelines and accountability which will install confidence in all stakeholders.
To grow the sport we need to attract investors to develop climbing walls across the country. This includes walls in the outlying areas and the Metropolis in both advantaged and previously disadvantaged communities. It includes basic walls i.e. grips on school and community brick walls, small indoor and outdoor walls, to international standard walls purposely developed by Sport Climbing Gyms. Once we have climbing walls, we can attract more climbers which allows us to hold more competitions, which in turn develops better and more competitive climbers.
To achieve our goals we need to take one step at a time, the first being to assess where we are and to set the road to follow which requires the buy-in from the greater climbing community and stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in sports and the business of sport i.e. sports retailers and government sport administrators. Once this has been established we will be best positioned to introduce a well-considered, sustainable and marketable sponsorship model across all Sports Climbing categories and member structures. This will ensure that both Rights and Obligations, bought and sold, are well defined in order for all parties to mutually benefit. It is certainly our intention of developing a mutually beneficial sponsorship model that includes the following sponsorship categories each with a clear certain set of Rights & Obligations. This approach offers the sponsor peace of mind as per what is available and what may be category exclusive and is defined below as an example of category type.
- National Title SANCF
- Member Title Member Provinces
- Competition National, regional and club sponsors across all disciplines.
- Supply Equipment, Apparel, Hydration, Transport, Supplements, Accommodation
- Support Banking, Insurance, IT
George is confident that together with the elected SANCF members he can take competitive Sports Climbing forward so as to develop an environment where all can enjoy the benefits of the sport. This includes handicapped children and adults, health fanatics and climbers of both the “fish & chips” and “athlete” category.
We welcome him on board and wish him all the success in setting and achieving our goals.