West Coast Sport Academy kicks off
There were smiles everywhere as 31 athletes were admitted into the West Coast Sport Academy in Saldanha on 24 May 2014. The academy is a partnership between the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), West Coast Sport Council, South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Saldanha Bay Municipality and the West Coast sport federations.
Launched in February 2013, the academy will support talented rugby, cricket, kickboxing, gymnastics, football, athletics and water sport players to help them maximise their potential. It will also be providing support to coaches. DCAS will provide supplementary funding, facilitate the provision of facilities and infrastructure, promote good governance, provide administrative support, enter into partnerships and sponsorships agreements and, most importantly, ensure effective programmes are running in each of the Western Cape regional sports academies.
Academy Manager Andrew Blake shared his joy by saying the institution will identify talented athletes who have limited exposure to training and high-level competition. By providing them with assistance, the academy will help them grow. The best may even go on to represent South Africa at international events. Bennett Bailey of DCAS Sport Promotion said the first intake of athletes was an historic occasion, a highlight of a process that begun two years ago. “The academy will remove barriers and create opportunities for athletes and coaches to reach their potential,” he said.
The partners are committed to continue supporting, empowering and developing West Coast athletes and coaches through ongoing workshops, training camps and other development activities in the region.