Intake of athletes at West Coast District Sport Academy in Saldanha
The West Coast District Sport Academy will have its first intake of athletes in Saldanha on 24 May 2014. The induction of the athletes will form part of a ceremony at the Protea Hotel that will celebrate this historic moment.
The West Coast Academy was formally launched on 16 February 2013 and its founders include the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), West Coast Sport Council, Saldanha Municipality and the South African National Defence Force. These stakeholders are also the management committee. After the launch, a technical committee was established – which included the West Coast Academy manager Andrew Blake – and West Coast Academy administrator, Melissa Vraagom, was appointed.
The initial phase of the academy included athletics, aquatics, kickboxing, gymnastics, netball, rugby, football and cricket. A boot camp took place to assist athletes from these codes, while workshops were held for coaches. With the assistance of the Western Cape Sport Academy (WECSA), a total of 31 athletes have been selected to form part of the first intake of athletes into the West Coast Academy system.
The vision of DCAS is to achieve a socially inclusive, creative and active Western Cape. The aim is to achieve this through encouraging excellence and inclusiveness in sport and culture through the effective, efficient and sustainable use of resources, and through creative partnerships with others. In moving to excellence, the academy system will create the conditions for access and mass participation, talent identification and skills development.
As one of the major role-players, the functions of DCAS will include the need to provide funding to supplement existing sources of funding, facilitate the provision of facilities and infrastructure, promote good governance, provide administrative support, enter into partnerships and sponsorships agreements for the welfare of academies in the Western Cape and most importantly, ensure programmes are effectively taking place in each academy.
The 31 athletes due to be inducted in the West Coast District Academy system will be the role models for other athletes on the West Coast. Once their performance has surpassed that of a district level, they will then progress to a provincial level, of which WECSA will be the responsible entity for those athletes. From a provincial level, they will progress to a national level, of which the responsible entity will be the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
Therefore, the West Coast Academy athletes will not only represent the West Coast District, but also become ambassadors of West Coast who will eventually be among the top class athletes bringing back gold to South Africa from all international competitions.