Team Eastern Cape chasing bagful of medals in Paarl

Members of the Eastern Cape team taking part in the National Secondary Schools Athletics Championships in Paarl iuntil Saturday
FIRED UP: Members of the Eastern Cape team taking part in the National Secondary Schools Athletics Championships in Paarl iuntil Saturday
Image: Sivuyile Ngaba

Team Eastern Cape believe they have enough firepower to crack the top five in terms of their medal count at the National Secondary Schools Athletics Championships which started in Paarl on Thursday and run until Saturday.

The National School Sport Championships form part of the rollout of the school sports league programme where children are given access to organised programmes born out of the 2011 Sports Indaba.

Eastern Cape class of 2024, made up of 139 athletes, accompanied by officials from the departments of education and sport, recreation, arts & Culture, left East London brimming with confidence on Wednesday.

The athletes will participate in long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, discus, javelin and hammer throw events.

They will also compete in the track distances of 100m-3,000m including relays and hurdles in the junior (U20), youth (U18), sub-youth (U16), primary youth and Learners with Special Educational Needs categories.

The up-and-coming athletes were selected from the provincial championships held in Komani in March and Team EC vice-chair Kwezi Giba says they have what it takes to improve their medal count from previous years.

“I have no doubt we will come back with more than 10 gold medals,” Giba said.

“With our intense preparations, the aim is to make the top five and compete with the likes of Gauteng, Western Cape, Free State and KZN.”

Sport, recreation, arts & culture MEC Nonceba Kontsiwe said: “I expect the team to consider the aspirations of our province, particularly the youth, and why it is important for the team to do well.

“Their anticipated success will send vibrations to all corners of the province, SA and the world.

“Their performance must inspire all the children in the most remote rural places in the province to dream.

“This moment is beyond them and their personal objectives. They must do this for our families, schools, communities, friends and all those in despair.

“Sport remains our instrument of social cohesion and nation building.

“It equally serves as a platform that keeps South Africans healthy and physically active.

“The department is committed to bridging the gap and elevating previously disadvantaged schools.

“In the last five years, 240 schools across all eight districts were resourced with equipment and attire.

“The beneficiaries were from the previously disadvantaged, mainly marginalised, schools.” — Provincial department of sport, recreation, arts & culture



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