Surfing, wheelchair tennis the big winners Cheetham, Letsema Awards | SASCOC - SASCOC

Surfing, wheelchair tennis the big winners Cheetham, Letsema Awards

Waves of Change and Wheelchair Tennis South Africa were the big winners of the annual Jack Cheetham Memorial and Letsema Awards evening in Sandton, Johannesburg on Thursday night.
Murray & Roberts, in partnership with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), hosted the 34rd announcement of the awards.
Waves of Change was awarded the Jack Cheetham Memorial Award for their outstanding development work within the Cape Town community, and the Letsema Award for sporting projects for disabled athletes, went to Wheelchair Tennis South Africa. Both projects received R500,000 payable over a five-year period.rsz_wheelchair_sa_national_500k
Runner up in the Jack Cheetham Award for able bodied sports development projects went to Umzinyathi Canoe Club, with No Limits Trampoline Club taking third place. In the Letsema category, runners-up spot went to Fulton School for the Deaf and third place was awarded to the National Association for Blind Bowlers, Ekurhuleni Region.
Runners up in each category receive R150 000 over three years, while third place winners receive R75 000 for the same period.
For Group Chief Executive, Henry Laas, the awards are a way for Murray & Roberts to help transform lives. ‘Sport is an opportunity to positively affect the lives of young South Africans and with the additional financial support provided through the awards, we look forward to seeing these projects nurture and develop our youth and sporting talent into the future.’


Waves for Change
Waves for Change provides surf therapy programmes for young people affected by violence and abuse in volatile township communities. The programme aims to correct the anti-social and high-risk behaviour patterns that are associated with continuous exposure to emotional distress and trauma through intensive surf training and psychosocial support services. The programme also aims to be inclusive and transform the South African surfing landscape. Waves for Change was formally launched in 2012 and now reaches 250 youth each week and employing 16 coaches across three townships in Cape Town.

uMzinyathi Canoe Club – Development Team
The uMzinyathi Canoe Club, based at the Shongweni Dam in rural KZN is a development programme that was initiated 10 years ago and targets youth from the local communities, with a strong focus on girls. There are currently 30 paddlers in the development programme. The programme builds; confidence, discipline and self-esteem among the participants which improves their academic and social skills. The development team has achieved recognition at provincial and national competitions, with one of the team members, Sbonelo Kwhela winning the Dusi Canoe marathon and non-stop Dusi.

No Limits Trampoline Club
The club was established 16 years ago and has 100 registered members comprising youth from Sebokeng, Three Rivers and Johannesburg South. No Limits Trampoline Club provides training in the sport of trampoline, with emphasis on providing equal opportunities for all children who display an interest or talent in the sport irrespective of race, age or gender or the ability to pay membership fees.
Through the club, a number of gymnasts have participated in national and international competitions. Fourteen gymnasts participated in competitions in Denmark, achieving three gold, two silver and three bronze medals.

Wheelchair Tennis South Africa
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa was established in 2005 and has grown participation in the sport from 18 players to over 500 players today. They have also expanded their network to include 50 centres across all nine provinces and host six International Tennis Federation events annually. The programme consists of an introduction to the sport at interested clubs, then offers weekly group coaching and equipment.  Players who perform well are introduced to competition at regional and national level and then progressing to participation at international events. Due to the work and impact of WTSA, South Africa has the second highest number of wheelchair tennis players, ranking 4th in the world in terms of the Quads division, eighth in the Open Women’s and 11th in the Open Men’s Division. Their goal is to have a minimum of six players qualifying for the Paralympics in 2016.

Fulton School for the Deaf
The Fulton School caters for learners with special needs, specifically children who are deaf, intellectually impaired and autistic. The school, based in Kwa-Zulu Natal, has always promoted sports and after employees sought permission to establish a team with severe behavioural problems to participate in a triathlon and seeing the positive result, the sport has grown to include 60 leaners.
The triathlon includes autistic learners, those with cerebral palsy and severe intellectual impairment.

National Association for Blind Bowlers – Ekurhuleni Region
The National Association for Blind Bowlers caters for bowlers with varying levels of visual impairment and was established in 1963.  In South Africa it has a membership of 170 players across 11 regions. The Ekurhuleni region formed from the split of the Central Gauteng region caters for bowlers across the East Rand and promotes the sport to other disabled persons. Despite the challenges being faced, the ER has achieved some outstanding results in competitions with bowlers winning mainly Gold and Silver medals in several competitions. One of the future plans for this region is preparation for the Nationals and eventually the World Bowls competition in New Zealand.

Pictures by Francois Booysens

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