Speech by Dr Ivan Meyer at the SA Elite Amateur Boxing Championships
Executive Member of the South African National Amateur Boxing Organization, Admiral Eric Green,
Chairperson of the Western Cape Amateur Boxing, Mr Paul Manual,
Members of the Media,
Ladies and gentlemen.
It is appropriate that on the eve of the London Olympics we take the stance that says we have to return boxing to its glory days. The glory days I refer to when the likes of Cape boxing champions, such as Skeleton Mboma, Sydney Hoho, Bashew Sibaca, Sipho Mange, Chris and Bramley Whiteboy, dominated the South African boxing scene.
Let me pause and also acknowledge the presence of Mzonke Fana, "The Rose of Khayelitsha", as well as Sinethemba Bam who just returned from the fourth African Sport Confederation Cup, where he won a silver medal. Unfortunately, he just missed being eligible for the SA London Olympic Team. We do believe though, that he is young enough to make it to the next Olympics. That is, if he does not turn professional before then.
As indicated, we need to revive boxing in the Western Cape. There is only one way back to those glory days and that is through the development and promotion of amateur boxing.
Through its partnership with SANOBO and the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government wishes to highlight its support for SANOBO's mission, which is to:
- Promote Olympic Style Boxing in South Africa.
- Provide fair competition.
- Provide equal opportunities at all levels.
- Be committed to the development of all facets of Olympic Style Boxing.
- Further the safety and welfare of all participants.
- Increase the membership base.
- Put structured development programmes in place at grass root levels.
The SA Elite Amateur Boxing Championships will attract boxers from all nine provinces of South Africa. I am particularly pleased that female boxers will also be participating in this event, as we have to ensure that greater access happens so that all boxers, irrespective of gender, are given the opportunity to participate and develop to their full potential.
The SA Elite Boxing Championships will provide a platform for the top boxers in the country to showcase and enhance their skills.
Development, however, is not an event. It requires long-term commitment. The Western Cape Government has therefore identified nine boxing clubs - three in the metro, three in the Boland and three in the SWD - to benefit from our Club Development Programme. This three-year development programme will assist these selected clubs with improving governance in boxing, with a focus on:
- Administration and financial management.
- Capacity building.
The above support will also include transport costs to tournaments. Over the next few years, the number of amateur clubs being supported will increase exponentially.
The South African Elite Boxing Championships is a unique opportunity for SANABO and the Western Cape Boxing Organisation to kick-start the revival of Western Cape and Cape Town Boxing. The Western Cape Government will certainly support this and wishes the LOC everything of the best. Boxing must play its role in providing our disaffected youth with an alternative to that which they are exposed to on a daily basis in their respective communities. Sport builds bridges. Sport mends, and boxing, when administered effectively, teaches the values of commitment, hard work, discipline and physical and mental endurance.
I also want to encourage our boxers to take the opportunity to hone their skills, and like many a great boxing champion, aim to compete at the highest level of amateur boxing, namely the Olympics, before they take the decision to turn professional. Boxing will reward you if you treat it with respect, train hard and compete with the true Olympic spirit, which promotes friendship, solidarity and fair play.
I thank you.