Team Gauteng underlined its status as the leading sporting province in the country when it topped the medals table for a fifth year in a row at the 2016 School Sport National Winter Games Championships.
This interprovincial schools tournament that took place in Durban in July is restricted to winter sporting codes, including chess, football, hockey, netball, rugby, tennis; volleyball and the indigenous games of jukskei and khokho.
Gauteng’s 671-strong delegation, including 522 athletes and 99 coaches and team managers, joined hundreds of participants from all nine provinces to take on the best young athletes in the country from 10 to 14 July.
Before heading off Gauteng Department of Sport MEC Faith Mazibuko told the team that she was confident that they would do well.
“You should also remember that Gauteng is the defending champions of this tournament, and has been for the past 4 consecutive years,” she said. “You must therefore do the very best you can. I am confident that you shall do us very proud, allow me to wish you well as you go and raise the Gauteng flag high.”
And Team Gauteng didn’t disappoint. Their haul of 12 gold medals, 13 silver, and six bronze was enough to give it 68 points to beat Western Cape into second place by just one point after their haul of 13 gold medals, 12 silver and 4 bronze.
Table 1: The final standings in the 2016 SA Schools National Winter Games
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Gauteng Sports Confederation once again assisted the departments of Sport and Education with the logistical arrangement sending two staff members to help with taking care of massive delegation.
“We are excited to be part of such event that helps to shape our youth athletes into future champions,” said GSC President Barry Hendricks. “We express our warmest congratulations to the team from Gauteng for carrying the flag so high,” he said
The mixture of internationally recognized sporting codes and South African indigenous games was also a highlight for Hendricks.
“The significance of this combination is the recognition given to emerging indigenous games,” said Hendricks. “The indigenous games have the possibility to grow and take their rightful place in the international sports arena. By supporting prestigious events such as these, we create opportunities for the youth, allowing them to excel in their love for sport.”
He said the athletes were the pride of the nation and deserved all-round support for them to realize their individual dreams and societal goals.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said Gauteng’s success was due to solid structures that many dedicated individuals had put in place.
“The positive partnerships with sporting federations and school sport code committees have been encouraging for the future of our talented children and educators and we are truly grateful for their input,” he said.
“The school sport codes have worked tirelessly to ensure accessibility of learners to regular participation through leagues and we salute them for their passion and commitment in these voluntary structures,” he said.