WHPAGO

We have developed a sustainable gymnastics programme which has settled into a wonderful rhythm of filling up with newcomers at one end and producing national representatives at the other.

Background

In 1996 a talent identification project was undertaken to identify 7 and 8 year old girls with a special talent for Olympic level gymnastics. From 3000 girls screened, 30 were selected to receive specialised coaching.

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Our Vision

to become financially sustainable within the next 5 years to continue providing an integrated High Performance training facility with community talent-identification centers feeding into it; and community clubs which offer classes for all and training for coaches from the community.

Our Growth

As most of these girls came from previously disadvantaged communities, it soon became obvious that this project could not continue without funding. Fortunately funding for a limited period was found. Soon we realised what a huge impact gymnastics made in these children’s lives. Our vision and passion grew.  We got involved in the communities – setting up community talent-id centres and clubs – so that we could take gymnastics to the communities instead of taking the children out of their communities. We are proud to say that we not only supported the initial group of gymnasts, but developed an entire programme.

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The past 4 years

Most importantly, over the past 14 years, we have developed a sustainable gymnastics programme which has settled into a wonderful rhythm of filling up with newcomers at one end and producing national representatives at the other. We have:

  • been awarded the Murray & Roberts Jack Cheetham award in recognition of our meaningful contribution to the development of sport in SA
  • provided an integrated high performance training facility where talented girls from all areas, races, creeds and income groups train together towards a common goal of excellence
  • taken girls from the communities and turned them into medal winners at the African Championships, All African Games and various international competitions; 6 of our talent-id girls have represented SA on numerous occasions
  • provided bursaries for previously disadvantaged talented gymnasts
  • established community talent-id centres and clubs; in Mitchell’s Plain and Philippi; where gymnastics classes are available to all youth from the area
  • screened more than 16,000 girls in our talent-identification programme in 5 different communities
  • started mentoring and training people from the communities as coaches and administrators
  • consistently won medals at Regional and National level
  • been awarded the “Western Province Level 8 to Olympic Club of The Year” award for the past 6 years
  • attracted funding from the National Lotteries Board, the City Council of Cape Town and various other funding organizations
  • established a working relationship with the Western Cape Sports Academy; 7 of our gymnasts are currently enrolled at the Western Cape Sport School
  • helped established and provided mentors for a Community Club in Philippi which provides mass participation and Rope Skipping classes to the children in the area

Very few, if any, of these gymnasts would have had these opportunities if gym classes were not offered in their communities. We currently have 100+ gymnasts spread across the various community clubs.

The next 10 years

Our vision for the next 10 years is: to become financially sustainable within the next 5 years to continue providing an integrated High Performance training facility with community talent-identification centres feeding into it; and community clubs which offer classes for all and training for coaches from the community. We could also:

  • train more coaches and administrators from historically disadvantaged communities
  • train more gymnasts from all areas: -as National Champions -to represent South Africa -to win medals at the African Championships and All African Games -to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games -to qualify for the Olympic Games -to represent their community clubs at the regional competitions and the national Gymnaestrada

Sponsors

We thank the following sponsors for their contribution to our programme over the past fourteen years.

We would also like to thank the Amatola Foundation, the Cape Town City Council, the Western Cape Sports Academy, the Western Province Gymnastics Association and the South African Gymnastics Federation for their support. Our final thanks are to Murray & Roberts for the 2005 Jack Cheetham Memorial Award. The prize money was most welcome, but even more so was the encouragement and recognition this award gave us.