PARDON my pessimism but I'm certainly not going to raise my hopes about SA's chances of winning medals at the London Olympic Games too high.

Even after the shock omissions of a litany of athletes and the expected list of controversies that greeted the announcement of the SA squad for the games, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) officials remain adamant that 12 medals are a realistic target for the event. Really?

The officials reckon SA's contingent of 125 athletes should be able to achieve the goal and the cynics should not believe this is just part of the usual grand-standing and posturing that sports politicians reserve for the media ahead of the Olympics.

I don't know about you but the Beijing 2008 Olympics are still very fresh in my mind and I'm not quite sure if I am ready to believe Sascoc or any other eternal optimist just yet.

Who can forget that SA sent a 136-member team to Beijing and they managed to return with just one medal? Remember that? I certainly haven't.

If it was not for Khotso Mokoena's heroics in the long jump, that SA squad would have returned home with zilch.

To think Mokoena did not even have a coach when he won his silver medal in Beijing.

It was only after he returned with the silverware around his neck that he was suddenly treated like royalty.

Sascoc insisted at the time that they would do their best to ensure that SA did not see a repeat of the Beijing shambles. Four years seemed far enough to make those lofty declarations.

Time flies and we will know soon enough if it was all just an excuse to get away from the stinging criticism that greeted SA's performance at the previous Olympic Games.

The 2012 squad has attracted a lot of negative vibes and some of the utterances made by Sascoc officials who should know better makes matters worse. The reality is deserving athletes will have to make do with watching the games on their TV screens like the rest of us while some will inexplicably be in London.

There is a long list of South African athletes who find themselves in this category and Sascoc's explanation for all this controversy has made very little sense. It does not help us as a nation when there is so much disagreement on who deserves to be going to London to represent SA at the games just days before the event.

Granted, there will always be controversy and discontent when any country around the world announces its Olympic squad.

But while other countries argue about who to leave out from a list of decorated achievers, we are busy arguing about a squad that will have overachieved if it manages to add a second medal to the one won by Mokoena in 2008.

As if that were not enough, a great deal has been said about the 46 officials who will travel with the team to serve "in various wide-ranging categories in each sport".

An additional 12 medical staff will be added to this list but Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy insists that all those who like to point these things out are just troublemakers who have very little else to do.

"It is a pity that people who comment on these situations do not do enough homework and research on the issue before putting out misleading statements in the public arena thereby ensuring that we have to spend half our lives and time on trying to justify what does not need to be justified," our man at Sascoc says.

"When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, we at Sascoc are more than happy that there is a satisfactory balance between officials and competitors."

Cameron van der Burgh, Chad le Clos, Caster Semenya, Sunette Viljoen, Mokoena, among others, are carrying a tough burden.

Now you know why I'm not getting my hopes up too high.

. Ntloko is sports editor.