Despite the rainy weather, hundreds of young athletes from Hawston and the surrounding areas gathered at the local sports ground on Saturday, 5 October to celebrate Olympic Day. The event coincided with the Overstrand Annual Sport Festival.
The Olympic Day was hosted by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) in collaboration with the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation (WCPSC) and DCAS. The guests were dignitaries, sport legends and Olympic and Paralympic star athletes.
The day, themed Move, Learn and Discover, commemorates the establishment of the Olympics, educates citizens and society about Olympism and serves as a build-up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The day started in true Olympic fashion with a march pass where athletes from local schools and sports clubs carried the flags of the host cities as well as the Olympic Torch. Waiting at the end to receive the torch were prominent Olympians and Paralympians including:
- Cameron van der Burgh
- Arnu Fourie
- Charles Bouwer
- Zanele Situ
- Hilton Langenhoven
- Stephanus “Fanie” Van Der Merwe
- Lawrence Ndlovu
- Mike Voerman
- Anrune Liebenberg
- Hendri Herbst
- Dyan Buis
- Naydene Smith
- Lee Anne Persse
The festivities started with a 3 km fun run, which was led by the President of SASCOC, Gideon Sam, and DCAS Minister, Dr Ivan Meyer. Children had the opportunity to interact with the sports stars in a competition of tug-of-war, an ancient Olympic sport. “I really enjoyed the tug-of-war and meeting the athletes” said Luengen October, a learner from Hawston Primary. Other activities for the Olympic Day included wrestling, soccer, netball, board games and rugby.
The President of SASCOC, Gideon Sam, emphasised that the purpose of the Olympic Day is to raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition for an athlete, to enlighten children on the top qualities of an athlete and to highlight sport as a career option. “The key to producing a top athlete such as the ones that are here today is to start right at the bottom with initiatives such as the Olympic Day,” he said.
Paralympian Fanie van der Merwe, who hails from Hermanus, expressed his enthusiasm for being part of the event. “It really provided me with an opportunity to interact and connect with the kids, it was real fun especially when we got the chance to participate in the tug-of-war” he said.