Disabled teenagers to compete in ‘Mile’

2016-01-27 06:00
The group of disabled teenagers and lifeguards who will compete in the Midmar Mile. Photo: tania sandberg

The group of disabled teenagers and lifeguards who will compete in the Midmar Mile. Photo: tania sandberg

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THE eThekwini Municipality and Shoprite Checker’s drive to equip and qualify a group of 10 disabled teenagers as lifeguards is in full swing and now a week into practicing it was decided that the teenagers will compete in the Midmar Mile on 13 and 14 February.

“This is not the only group that will be competing, we also have another group of 10 teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds who are training, under Lenny Pillay, at the Tiger Rocks pool in Isipingo. These children are at the advanced stage of training and will be entered for the junior lifeguard award [at Midmar Mile] ,” Amanzimtoti beach superintendant, Jayce Govender said.

Govender added this is the fourth year that he has been involved with this initiative. In previous years he trained street children from Mtombu and Dakota and Lotus Park.

Govender said they split the Amanzimtoti group into two groups - one group is focussing on fitness training, the other groups is trained in stroke correction and the finer skills.

Blind surfer, Danito Mondlani, is doing specialised training and learning how to swim.
“He could not swim two weeks ago and now he is swimming across the pool. The lifeguard who is training him has designed a special way to give him direction, he picks up the vibration in the water in front of him,” Govender explained.

“It is great, I am having lots of fun. I am feeling more confident each day and can take what life has to throw at me,” Danito remarked.

“I am feeling fit and swimming much better,” said 13-year-old Josh Dann.

His brother, 15-year-old Timothy Dann said: “It is great, my swimming has improved.”

For the Midmar Mile, Shoprite-Checkers have sponsored 25 pairs of swimming goggles, rash vests, swimming T-shirts, childrens­’ supplement of food, meals and Energade. eThekwini Municipality has provided the lifeguards, the facility and the transport to take children to the Midmar Mile.

“Other than helping the children by teaching them important skills and assisting them to reach their dream, I found the experience has been fulfilling and therapeutic for us, the lifeguards, to train them.
“It showed us a different side of life, we have everything and we complain every day. If we are in contact with the children it makes us realise how fortunate we are. This initiative has made the lifeguards more compassionate and understanding, loving and caring,” Govender said.

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