Award is proof canoeing no longer ‘elitist’

2014-09-16 00:00

THE massive strides being made in the Canoeing Development Programme at Natal Canoe Club (NCC) were underlined recently when the NCC Develop-ment Race, which is sponsored by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation, won the award for the Best One-day Race at the annual KwaZulu-Natal Canoeing Union Awards.

With strong support from the Department of Sport, Thuhu Manyathi, one of the first group of paddlers to become a part of development in canoeing, has spearheaded the hugely successful development programme at NCC, which has so far introduced the sport to over 3 000 children and has also taught those children life skills.

Especially in the younger age groups, members of the NCC Development Team have begun to excel and Manyathi believes that it is only a matter of time before the programme produces a winner of the Dusi Canoe Marathon, South Africa’s most iconic canoe marathon, which is put on annually by NCC.

The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation Mrs Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha said that she was pleased that the partnership with the NCC is beginning to yield positive results.

“This development programme has played a significant role in introducing youth from township and rural areas to canoeing. It has also dispelled the notion that canoeing is an elite sport,” she said.

“The Department will continue to support the programme and ensure that it grows from strength to strength.”

The NCC Development Team organise the NCC Development Race, which is a Dusi Canoe Marathon qualifier.

“It’s an achievement. It’s a positive thing for the NCC Development Team. They know that we are doing something right. We are still learning how to organise a race and other stuff, but winning the award came very quickly,” Manyathi said of winning the KNCU Best One-day Race Award.

“The programme is producing more than paddlers. It is producing people who can grow the sport. We have Sam Phungula, who has been doing a lot of development work.

“You can see the children, everyone wants to paddle at the moment. I think NCC is doing a fantastic job.”

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