This program is presented in conjunction with the Academy for Canoe Development since 2009 with the aim to develop children through sport, life skill programs and cross cultural activities.
The canoeing club is open to children from the whole community and the city, but a significant percentage of the children from the club come from extremely poor families in the community, primarily from a informal settlement.
We aim at developing children holistically. It's not simply about learning how to paddle and keep a canoe in the water.
Paddling skills are used as a tool in the development of general personal and life skills. The disciplines acquired as part of organized and competitive paddling teach much-needed skills.
A further aspect of the After School Care service is the supplementary feeding scheme. It became apparent there was a general inadequacy in the diet of the children attending this service which did not provide sufficient nourishment for them to participate in the canoeing training and remain healthy. Thank you also to PVM that donates energy bars and fortified mealie meal.
Within months of a child becoming part of this project we generally see significant positive development. A world of opportunity is opened through sports; we aim to develop the necessary skills to make use of these opportunities. Our dream is that these children will grow up to become leaders in various fields, giving back to the communities from which they came.
Already it is apparent that these children really excel at canoeing and kayaking. Many seem to have an inborn talent for the sport and coaches has high hopes that some would develop in to professional paddlers. There are various South African champions among the group and also children that attended international competitions.
The first time that Team SA will have no representation at the Olympic Games in the Canoe and Kayak categories
The 8-year commitment of hard training and sacrifice came to an end for our SA Sprint Canoe/Kayak Team after an excellent performance at the 2019 Canoe and Kayak World Championships in Szeged Hungary 21-25 August. Africa, managed to qualify 5 Olympic quotas for the continent, 4 of these spots were qualified by Team South Africa in the K1 Men 200m, K1 woman 200m, K1 Woman 500m and the K2 500m Woman events. Tunisia managed to qualify a 1000m K1 Men’s spot for the continent. 102 countries competed at this world class event with the goal to qualify as many quotas as possible for their continents. These spots were then up for grabs at the respected Continental Championships. For Africa this event was held during the 2019 All Africa Games in Morocco 28-30 August 2019. Team SA did not disappoint and took 10 medals home, 9 gold and 1 silver and so qualified 4 of the 5 Olympic quotas for South Africa in the Woman’s K1 200m, K1 Woman’s 500m, K2 Woman’s 500m and the K1 Men’s 200m events. Team SA paddled world class times, smashing their competition and making them the fastest paddlers on their continent.
Shortly after arriving home from their victory in Morocco, Team SA received the unfortunate news from SASCOC (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) that even though they legitimately qualified 4 quotas for South Africa to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, SASCOC will not allow them to compete. SASCOC will give back the qualified spots to the African pool for the countries who achieved second and third positions at the All Africa Games Olympic Qualifiers to represent Africa at ‘the most prestigious sports event in world’. Team SA qualified these positions to the satisfaction of and through the criteria set by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), the ICF (International Canoe Federation) and the CAC (Confederation of Africa Canoeing). For some reason SASCOC wrote their own criteria to exceed the expectations and criteria set by above mentioned federations in such a way that it makes it almost impossible for South African athletes to compete at the Olympics even though they qualified their spots through the international circuit and the criteria set by above mentioned federations.
What this means for Africa is that the continent will not be represented by its best athletes at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. 2020 will be the first Olympic Games since Team SA was allowed to compete after 1994, which will have no representation in any of the Canoe and Kayak events. This is devastating since the athletes involved committed years of training and sacrifice, one of them being an Olympic Bronze Medalist in London 2012. These athletes had little or no support from their National federations and had to compete at all national and International events at their own financial expense.This includes above mentioned Olympic Qualifiers. Some of these athletes had to work 2 jobs, study and train on an Olympic level for them to have been able to achieve these results. Plainly put these athletes paid their own way for them to qualify on the highest level in the world only for SASCOC to take their hard-earned spots and give it away to other African countries who could not have opened Olympic quotas by their own results.