ECDOE in the National Senior Secondary Schools Athletics

Posted on Friday, 06 April 2018

By Nobulali Sigabi

Category: Latest News

ECDOE participated in the National Senior Secondary Schools Athletics that took place on the 21st – 24th of March 2108 in Potchefstroom.

169 learners, of which 39 were LSEN (Learners with Special Education Needs), competed in the track and field events where they managed to bring home 26 medals; 5 Gold, 10 Silver and 11 Bronze.  It was a tough competition that did not only require physical and mental strength but heart and soul as well. Learners gave their all as they contested with the best in the country.

Eastern Cape is a vast Province surrounded mainly by rural areas that are seen to be underdeveloped in terms of infrastructure and Athletics facilities. Regardless of these challenges, these learners have a never say die attitude that keeps them pushing  for greater heights; it is this attitude that saw them occupying the no. 6 spot beating Kwazulu- Natal, Northern Cape and Limpopo. However this is a decline from the previous year, where the Province took the no5 spot.

Communications had an opportunity to speak to Daniel Sotyato who is the Provincial Schools coordinator under the School Enrichment programme. He commended the dedication and performance of the learners amidst challenges faced by schools in the Province. He highlighted the fact that participation in sport helps to “curb social ills like gansterism, teenage pregnancy, drug and substance abuse as well as bullism”. He also stressed the importance of promoting a healthy lifestyle amongst school going kids.

He however, attributed the decline to, lack of resources and this is one aspect that cannot be escaped, as it has a huge impact in the way athletes perform in these competitions. The talent is there, visible and evident;however, needs to be nurtured, enhanced and developed. This can only be done where proper facilities are made available. Sotyato cited that the Province needs to have “standardised facilities” for athletics. He furtherindicated that “tatted tracks are few in this Province, it’s only in Cradock and Port Elizabeth” and these are usually expensive to hire. Learners especially those in rural areas become accustomed to running bare foot in a grass pitch that it becomes difficult to adjust to the tatted track wearing spikes.  He also emphasised collaborations with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture to ensure that athletes are resourced and developed holistically.

One good thing about the Province is that it is able to produce stars that are later snatched by Gauteng Province, in order to get better opportunities and ultimately become the pride of the nation.

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