History of SAMSA

The SOUTH AFRICAN MASTERS SPORTS ASSOCIATION (SAMSA) was founded on 6 February 1993 in Pretoria. 18 Sports codes were present at the inaugural meeting registering as founder and full members.

At present 60 different sports are actively involved in the promotion of "Sport for Life" with regular participation in national and international competitions and championships. South African Masters have brought home many gold, silver and bronze medals over the past 10 years and some have been crowned World Master Champions.

SAMSA as a Federation of National Masters Sports bodies, acknowledges and respects the autonomy of its members, with no interference in individual codes' affairs and events / competitions.

SAMSA's Main Objectives

  • To bring together Masters sportsmen and women in communities to practise their sport and to promote the philosophy of "SPORT FOR LIFE".
  • To promote the transformation initiatives, anti-racism and anti-sexism among fellow masters in our country.
  • SAMSA, as a supporter of and regular participant in the International Masters Games and many other international masters multi-sport events, distributes relevant information to its members through its official monthly newsletter, the "MASTERS VOICE".

SAMSA's planned 3-year programme

  • The 2004 Masters Sports Day - 30 October 2004.
  • The preparation for participation in the 6th World Masters Games, Edmonton, Canada from 22 to 31 July 2005. There will be 25 sport codes included in the games programme.
  • The organisation of the 5th South African Masters Games from 27 April to 1 May 2006. The host city will be Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Bay.

South African Masters Games

SAMSA's major event is the biennial multi-sport SA Masters Games held since 1997 :

  • 1997 in Johannesburg - hosted and financially supported by the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council.
  • 1999 in Port Elizabeth - hosted and sponsored by the Port Elizabeth City Council.
  • 2001 in Pretoria - hosted by Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality with Pick 'n Pay as event sponsor.
  • 2003 in Pretoria - hosted by City of Tshwane with Pick 'n Pay as event sponsor.
  • 2006 in Port Elizabeth - hosted and sponsored by Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan.

National Annual Masters Sports Day

SAMSA's National Annual Masters Sports Day is celebrated on the last Saturday in October.

  • This was launched in 2000 and is another Masters project in order to promote continued participation in "Sport for Life" among all master sportsmen and women in cities, towns, clubs and communities.
  • SAMSA established contact with 539 municipal councils in 2000 in order to promote the Masters Annual Sports Day.
  • An information flyer will again be distributed to all national sport bodies, clubs and local councils.

What is a Master?

Expressions such as "senior" or "veteran" are frequently applied to mature athletes. In the context of Masters Games the term "Master" is applied to male and female competitors who comply with the International Sports Federations' rules regarding the minimum age in the respective sport. Most Masters' sports are arranged in age categories which increase in five or ten year intervals.

As a guideline, the minimum age for women is 30 years and for men 35 years. However, this depends on each sport's international and national rulings.

Although no prior qualification is required in order to participate, many masters are extremely competent and competitive. Several are former World Champions, ex Olympians, others have had talent and motivation to make it to the top, but for various reasons they never had the opportunity. Some compete solely to enjoy the competitive element invested in every sportsmen and women.

All master athletes are amateurs and are responsible for own costs pertaining to their participation in events. All officials (umpires, referees, judges, coaches and managers) are rendering voluntary services to their fellow masters without any remuneration.

Status of Masters participation in South Africa

  • The phenomenal growth in masters participation in "Sport for Life" should receive more support of the South African macro-sport bodies as in many other countries.
  • South Africa, as a sport loving country, should have a much greater number of master sportsmen and women from all race groups continuing with sport.
  • Sport codes that are well represented by all race groups are mainly the team sports - basketball, bowls, netball, softball, soccer, table tennis and volleyball.

History of World Masters Sports

The International Masters Games Association (IMGA) was founded in 1985 at a meeting in Seoul, South Korea. A Board of Governors governs the IMGA with its present headquarters in Bronby, Denmark. International Sport Federations from over 100 countries are members of the Association.

The world's first masters club was established in England in 1932.

Since 1985 the World, Games have become a quadrennial international event and the largest participatory multi-sport competition in the world bringing together over 25,000 men and women athletes 30 to 35 years and older.

Canada, a founder member of the IMGA has at present a membership of 3.5 million active masters.

The World Games is a multi-national and multi-sports event for mature sportsmen and women and is open to all competitors - past champions, people who have never competed at championship level or just sportsmen and women in general.

Unlike world championships for masters or veterans, the World Masters Games does not have qualification criteria for participation. The Games create a festive atmosphere and encourage all athletes who comply with the minimum age requirement, as set by individual sports codes to compete.

The first world Masters Games initiated by Canada was held in Toronto in 1985. The second Games was held in Denmark in 1989, the third Games in Brisbane, Australia, the fourth World Games was held in Portland, Oregon USA in 1998. The fifth World Masters Games was held in Melbourne, Australia in 2002 with the sixth World Masters to be held in Edmonton, Canada in July 2005.

The Fundamental Idea of World Masters Sports

The World Masters Games:

  • Promotes the philosophy of "sport for life".
  • Motivates a goal-oriented and long-term attitude towards sport and physical fitness.
  • Offers a broad-based participation in an open sports event featuring a number of disciplines in a truly multi-national environment.
  • Encourages mature individuals from all over the world to participate in sport regardless of age, sex, race, religion or sports status.
  • Sets an example of the participants to inspire the youth of the world to acknowledge that competitive sport may continue throughout life.
  • Brings together mature athletes every 4 years in different cities around the world to practise their sport and to share cultural and tourist experiences.