Athletes and Team Officials Happy to Receive Tracksuits
Wearing the sporting colours of their province instils a sense of pride for all athletes and officials. It recognises their achievements and serves as a motivation to strive for excellence and it also inspires others.
On Wednesday, 20 March 2013, it was no different when athletes, who represented the Western Cape at the 2012 South African National School Sports Championships in Pretoria, received their tracksuits. An excited and passionate atmosphere summed it all up at the official handover ceremony at the Western Cape Sport School in Kuils River: The learners were indeed proud.
About 400 athletes took part in the championships, described as the “Top Schools” competition, hosted by Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE). Athletes from around the country, including those with disabilities, competed in nine sporting codes for top honours.
Tracksuits were initially planned to be handed over upon departure for the championships. However, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport felt that the quality of the tracksuits was of an inferior quality. The order with the original service provider was then cancelled and a new one was appointed. Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Claude Meyer of the Directorate: Sport Development said that it was “unacceptable” to hand over inferior tracksuits to athletes. He thanked the coaches, parents as well as the athletes, who showed their understanding of this situation.
Meyer said apart from winning, the highlight was that athletes, mostly from disadvantaged communities, had the opportunity to participate in competitive sport. “That was a bonus for us and together, we can ensure that every learner still has the opportunity to participate in school sport.”
Team Western Cape collected 10 gold, 7 silver and 2 bronze medals while scoring 46 points to end an impressive third place behind Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng at the championships. Six athletes also received Ministerial Bursaries from SRSA for their performances. This year’s championships are set to take place in December, and will include three additional sporting codes: hockey, tennis and table tennis.
Chief Director of Sport and Recreation, Adv. Lyndon Bouah, praised the athletes for being the building base for communities. “Your contribution is important for sport in the country, as our department believes in a province that is fit and healthy. We also want to see more of you receive Ministerial Bursaries at this year’s championships,” he said.
Mr Joje Sesfa, coach of the netball team of Qhayiya Secondary School in Hermanus, said his players were so excited that they would even wear the tracksuits to school. “It certainly brings them joy as it is a symbol of where they came from. I am confident their successes will inspire others in the community.”