College hosts debate with former South African sports stars

2014-10-07 00:00

THERE has been much debate in recent months among the sporting fraternity after a spotlight was put on high school sport.

Last week, a group of South Africa’s top sportspeople gathered for a gala dinner at Maritzburg College to give over 250 guests some insight into what goes on the change rooms of our professional sports teams, as well as their expert opinions on a number of issues in school sport.

The dinner was hosted by master of ceremonies Stefan Terblanche (former Shark and Springbok) who led discussions with his panel of Butch James (former Shark, Springbok and RWC winner in 2007), Jacques Botes (most capped Sharks and Currie player of all time), Mark Steele (strength and conditioning coach for the Sharks), Dr Kirsten van Heerden (former SA swimmer and now performance and sport psychologist) and Darryn Gallagher (Springbok and Olympic hockey player, and current SA U21 head coach).

The night started off with each of the guests sharing personal experience and career highlights — all of them having enjoyed long periods at the top of their game. They all seemed to share a number of common traits — passion for their respective sports, a determination to be the best, ability to deal with and bounce back from set-backs and criticism, while remaining humble and true to their characters.

The debate then moved onto some prevalent issues dominating school sport, including competitiveness in rugby, recruitment of players at certain age groups, scholarships, substance abuse, gym practices and the direction in which schools sport is headed.

Despite the serious side of the debate, the evening provided some enthralling details of particular events and highlights in each of the guests’ careers. Due to the success of the gala, Maritzburg College hopes to make it an annual event.

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