If you’ve been watching the cricket on SABC Sport and wondering who was behind the whole operation, look no further than Melinda Lombard.
A passionate sports fan, and a perfectionist of note, Melinda is the Executive Producer of SABC Sport’s live ICC Cricket World Cup broadcast and she is enjoying every minute of it.
This extremely hardworking and creative producer has worked on a number of top notch events, including the first ever Women’s World Cup of Golf, which she describes as the best live TV sports event she has worked on.
Melinda joined the SABC straight out of school and has worked her way up to a level where she is responsible for all SABC Sport’s magazine programmes.
Her first love is athletics and she is a big fan of Paul Nash, one of the best sprinters in South African history.
Introducing our Woman in Media for April, SABC Sport Executive Producer, Melinda Lombard!
How did you get into sports broadcasting?
I started out in radio administration at the SABC. In 1986 I was appointed production assistant at the SABC’s television sport department where I worked for a number of years mainly on outside broadcast units covering golf and rugby.
What are your current work projects?
I co-ordinate and oversee SABC Sport magazine programmes. The major project keeping the team busy at the moment is of course the ICC Cricket World Cup taking place in the Caribbean.
What’s the best live TV sports event you’ve worked on?
The first Women’s World Cup of Golf was quite an experience. It was an South African initiative (Tania Fourie and co) and it was a huge success from the outset. The tournament quickly established itself as a major event in women’s golf. It also focused the world’s attention on South Africa. It was televised in over 60 Countries, and the organisers won world-wide acclaim.
If you had an opportunity to work internationally, who would you like to work for?
I would like to have the opportunity to observe the production of really big events like golf from Augusta or even the Super Bowl – Americans have the knack to turn an event into a huge show.
What are your plans for 2010?
The Soccer World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. I certainly do hope to have the opportunity to be part of the team covering the event.
What is the biggest challenge coming into a male dominated field?
You mention ‘male dominated’ and the curious thing is that the males in my work environment are all very supportive, whilst the females seem almost reluctant to accept a woman in a leadership role.
What is your advice for aspiring women sports producers?
You have to have a passion for what you are doing or want to do. "Love what you do and do what you love” sounds cliché, but I see it as the first requirement for success.
Also, be a team player and be eager to walk the extra mile.
What did you do before you joined the SABC?
I joined the SABC after completing high school.
How do you keep fit?
You just had to ask the question! I confess, I strayed from my spinning class. I do miss the wonderful feeling after a good workout (Note to self: Book early morning spinning session).
What is your favourite sport?
I have covered women in action in a wide variety of codes over the years, but the athletics track has a special place. At an athletics event, memories come flooding back. I used to be a good sprinter at school.
Who is your favourite sports star?
Paul Nash, one of the best sprinters in South African history. As a young girl I spoke a few words with him at a meet in Krugersdorp. I bragged that I won my race at schools competition. Later that day Nash clocked ten seconds dead to equal the world record. To this day Paul Nash is the only South African on the progression list of the 100m world record.
The stadiums at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne were the best I have ever seen.
How can we improve the state of women’s sport in South Africa?
We need to publicize the sporting achievements of women in order to create role models. Sport stars inspire the next generation of champions. Girls should have posters of their heroes on their walls, and dream of the day when they will also stand on the podium.
gsport strives to celebrate FEMININITY. How would you define femininity?
I do not philosophize about concepts like femininity. I am a practical person and I do what comes naturally.
Women and men have God-given, complimentary roles. I fulfill mine with joy, making a home, caring for the kids, being a wife, coping with challenges at the workplace …
What inspires you?
Reading the Bible and inspirational books.
Who are your role models?
I am blessed. I have a wonderful mother. I have always admired her way of doing things.
What is your favourite quote?
Life is to be lived – here and now!
Career-wise, what do you still want to achieve?
Managing a project, especially the people involved, is both art and science. I would like to become a really skillful manager. Competent management makes a huge difference in people’s lives.
How do you relax?
I love reading, having tea and a chat with friends, a cat nap perhaps (what luxury!).
What do you love most about South Africa?
South Africa is a land of opportunity.