A sport for all

2010-01-25 00:00

THE 2010 Dusi Canoe Marathon was a fantastic advert for the sport and for tourism in the area.

On the tourism and sports development fronts, stakeholders are confident that the sport does uplift the standard of living for residents of the Valley of a Thousand Hills.

KwaXimba traditional leader Inkosi Simingaye Mlaba said the efforts of amakhosi to get young people to participate in the sport are paying off.

“Before our children participated in the sport, it took us a long time to realise what they were missing out on. Paddlers were passing right in front of our households and there was curiosity from some of our people. Eventually we managed to get involved. We therefore congratulate all the participants, those who won and those who didn’t, and we thank them for continuing to come to our areas,” said Mlaba.

He confessed that he was all for Michael Mbanjwa and Ant Stott winning, but things didn’t turn out that way.

“At least we have something to be happy about, that is having three young men doing their villagers and amakhosi of their respective areas proud, by obtaining positions two and three,” he said, referring to Mbanjwa, who came second with Ant Stott, and Eric Zondi and Thomas Ngidi, who came third. He said the three have what it takes to win the next race.

A bottle store owner in the Valley of the Thousand Hills, Amos Mkhize, said business picked up on the second day of the marathon. He said the canoeists made up the bulk of his customers.

Sports and Recreation MEC Weziwe Thusi said the marathon brings hope for the rural people to have young men participating in canoeing.

She said her department would like to see more rural youngsters participating in canoeing, as they are doing in cricket.

Since 2004, the department has been focusing on the development of canoeing and other sporting codes in black communities, especially in rural areas.

“For Umzinyathi and Lembethe canoeing clubs, we have given a lot of support, and we have number three from one of the clubs. That goes to show that given the support, young people are able to give it their all for better results,” she said.

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal spokeswoman Lihle Dlamini said the organisation will have information on statistics and spin-offs today.

Dlamini said the event is a tourism boost for the province, as it attracts local and foreign interest.

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