New sports academy for talented athletes

A sports academy was officially launched on Friday at the Recreation Grounds to develop talented athletes in the Chris Hani district.

Provincial senior sport development manager Bafundi Makhubalo said the aim of establishing academies in different districts in the province was to nurture identified talent. He indicated that Queen’s was one of the schools assessed by the national department which had met the criteria required.

We applaud the leadership at Queen’s for agreeing to go into this partnership with us. We are driven by two policy directives championed by the present government. A decision was taken for school sport to be a shared responsibility between the departments of sport and education. Schools will always be the bedrock of sport development. Therefore for us to achieve the vision of making SA a winning nation, we must make sure that we work and source the schools accordingly. In 2013, the then minister, Fikile Mbalula, and the president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) signed a framework on the academies of sport in the country and many athletes have since managed to get ministerial bursaries to be placed in schools.”

Eastern Cape Sports Confederation president Mkhululi Magada said beneficiaries of this initiative would hail from different areas in the district and would make use of the facility “This will greatly assist the district and because the facility is situated at Queen’s College does not necessarily mean it will only accommodate pupils from the school. We will identify children from rural areas who will be placed at the school. A lot of excellent athletes come from rural areas and have no access to such equipment. This initiative is to motivate and host aspiring top athletes. We want to monitor their progress so they can compete at national and international level.”

Queen’s headmaster Janse van der Ryst said the act of collaboration between the two ‘powerful’ institutions was significant. “The potential for the people and communities of the Komani we are serving is endless and should fill us with hope. Two years ago our school developed ‘Vision 175 and beyond’. Queen’s College aims to be an internationally recognised educational institution of excellence. We have identified four actions that will propel us towards our vision; to care deeply, think critically, act bravely and collaborate. What we are here to experience today is the act of collaboration between these two institutions. May this relationship go from strength to strength.”

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