It is common knowledge that not all athletes start their careers or sporting journeys on an equal footing. This is as a result of the historic and past imbalances as witnessed in South Africa, and also across the continent and in most under developed nations.
The lack of investment in grassroots sports will lead to athletes, communities and nations having to play catch up. Most investments in sport are considered and evaluated based on the commercial value to be gained by the sponsor. This is such a pity, because those decisions directly imply that grassroot development sport will be overlooked and demoted further on the menu of available properties to sponsor.
A nation who neglects to invest in grassroots development of sport is neglecting its future sports stars and also contributing towards exclusion from participation and equal opportunities.
If one has to reflect and cast our memories back to when South Africa was welcomed back into the Olympic Movement and international participation in sport, athletes from previously disadvantaged backgrounds had mixed levels of success; compared to their counterparts who had experienced better opportunities and were in a position of advantage.
How many of these previously disadvantaged athletes are from the rural areas? In short, not a great deal of they are from the deep rural areas or still currently underdeveloped areas. The dire situation today is still not improving.
The Sports Trust since its inception has been mandated to address these past imbalances together with the support of their Trustees and stakeholders. It’s a lonely space to occupy especially when the majority of sport investors have not realised the value and importance of the long-term investment towards grassroots sport development.
The Nedbank Sports Trust Development Cycling Programme is one such initiative to develop this sport in previously disadvantaged communities. The programme originated to provide access, participation and opportunities for youngsters from impoverished communities to have an opportunity to participate in cycling, whilst keeping them away from the social ills of society, such as gang violence, teenage pregnancies, and drug abuse. A sport which might be perceived to be “an elitist sport” and only reserved for a select few, who are able to afford the equipment and kit to enable participation.
The success stories which emanated from this programme can be described as admirable and inspirational. Life-skills, personal mastery, from development cyclist to professional teams, have afforded these boys and girls valuable skills which also led to major improvements in their academic results. This supports the brand promise and tagline of The Trust of “Enhancing Education through Sport”.
The objective of this programme is to motivate the cyclists from early on, and provide them with training in terms of; learning to cycle, knowing the rules of the road, road safety, personal discipline, race planning, bike maintenance skills, responsibility and ownership of their journeys. They are also given the opportunity to compete in a variety of school and league events and are then chosen based on their overall performance, for selected Provincial teams.
It caters for both male and female cyclists and due to their hard work and dedication, some of these cyclists have already been selected to be part of the Western Cape and Western Province Cycling Teams and this continues on an annual basis.
This programme has grown from strength to strength, and we have seen some remarkable achievements and milestones achieved by these Nedbank Sports Trust development cyclists over the years.
The Sports Trust continues to create awareness of this successful sustainable programme to encourage more young people to take up the sport of cycling.
There are so many opportunities to partner with The Sports Trust on this programme and other related grassroots development programmes.
Corporates are issued with a Section 18 Certificate when they partner with The Trust. This tax benefit for the corporate in turn benefits a community or athletes who are in desperate need of support and funding.
NEDBANK SPORTS TRUST DEVELOPMENT CYCLIING PROGRAMME
Vernon Treu, C3 para-cyclists won Gold & Silver medals, in SA Road Champs and WP Champs
2020 / 2021 Covid
Nedbank Sports Trust development cyclists took part in Cape Town Cycle tour
Disfruta Sports Tours sponsored 2 cyclists Vuyo Mavuyo, and Vuyolwethu Nkomo to experience Tour De France and they cycled a section and experienced this amazing sporting event, and had the opportunity to travel overseas for the first time. Both were from Khayalitsha the impoverished community in the Western Cape.
Vuyo Mavuyo placed 1st, won the Yellow Jersey for U/23 Bӓckstedt HotChillee Young Rider 2018 and has been selected to train with Team Bӓckstedt HotChillee.
16 Cyclists chosen for WC Provincial Cycling Team and 21 Elite Cyclists Selected
2 Cyclists completed a Sub- 3-hour Cape Town Cycle Tour
4 Cyclists chosen for Western Province Team