WHPAGO

BACKGROUND
In 1996 a talent identification project was undertaken to identify 7 and 8 year old girls with a special talent for Olympic level gymnastics. From 3000 girls screened, 30 were selected to receive specialised coaching.
 
As most of these girls came from previously disadvantaged communities, it soon became obvious that this project could not continue without funding. Fortunately funding for a limited period was found.
 
Soon we realised what a huge impact gymnastics made in these children’s lives. Our vision and passion grew.  We got involved in the communities – setting up community talent-id centres and clubs – so that we could take gymnastics to the communities instead of taking the children out of their communities.
 
We are proud to say that we not only supported the initial group of gymnasts, but developed an entire programme.
 
 

THE PAST 14 YEARS
 
Most importantly, over the past 14 years, we have developed a sustainable gymnastics programme which has settled into a wonderful rhythm of filling up with newcomers at one end and producing national representatives at the other.
 
We have:
  • been awarded the Murray & Roberts Jack Cheetham award in recognition of our meaningful contribution to the development of sport in SA
  • provided an integrated high performance training facility where talented girls from all areas, races, creeds and income groups train together towards a common goal of excellence
  • taken girls from the communities and turned them into medal winners at the African Championships, All African Games and various international competitions; 6 of our talent-id girls have represented SA on numerous occasions
  • provided bursaries for previously disadvantaged talented gymnasts
  • established community talent-id centres and clubs; in Mitchell’s Plain and Philippi; where gymnastics classes are available to all youth from the area
  • screened more than 16,000 girls in our talent-identification programme in 5 different communities
  • started mentoring and training people from the communities as coaches and administrators
  • consistently won medals at Regional and National level
  • been awarded the “Western Province Level 8 to Olympic Club of The Year” award for the past 6 years
  • attracted funding from the National Lotteries Board, the City Council of Cape Town and various other funding organizations
  • established a working relationship with the Western Cape Sports Academy; 7 of our gymnasts are currently enrolled at the Western Cape Sport School
  • helped established and provided mentors for a Community Club in Philippi which provides mass participation and Rope Skipping classes to the children in the area
Very few, if any, of these gymnasts would have had these opportunities if gym classes were not offered in their communities.
We currently have 100+ gymnasts spread across the various community clubs.
OUR VISION FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS
 
Our vision for the next 10 years is:
to become financially sustainable within the next 5 years to continue providing an integrated High Performance training facility with community talent-identification centres feeding into it; and community clubs which offer classes for all and training for coaches from the community.
 
We could also:
  • train more coaches and administrators from historically disadvantaged communities
  • train more gymnasts from all areas:
    -as National Champions
    -to represent South Africa
    -to win medals at the African Championships and All African Games
    -to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games
    -to qualify for the Olympic Games
    -to represent their community clubs at the regional competitions and the national Gymnaestrada




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