'We need a monitoring system for primary and high school athletes' - Moloi congratulates SASA
Athletics South Africa (ASA) President James Moloi says they working on introducing a monitoring system that will track promising junior athletes to ensure that they are not lost to the sport when they graduate to the senior ranks. Moloi was speaking on the sidelines of the South African School Athletics (SASA) meet which saw hundreds of talented young track and field performers descended on the Germiston Stadium this week for three days of competition.
"We told you guys that we must start somewhere," said Moloi moments after handing out medals to the day's podium finishers. "Even the minister explained loud and clear that we must go back to schools and identify talent, that's why we are here today. This is where we need to identify talent if we can do very well from the school level right to the university level. So from our side as management we will back up and do our level best to support them."
While his words may ring hollow to some, the man who was himself a top runner and competed in Europe is quick to emphasize that the process of grooming the next generation of Olympians does not end with talent identification in schools. Moloi says because these are the future champions who will one day represent the country at the highest level they must be looked after especially once they complete Grade 12.
"We are fortunate because the president of SASA is one of our (ASA) board members. So we explained to them that we need a monitoring system whereby we have to have our database from primary school, high school and universities where we monitor all of those athletes. If for example they leave high school it's our duty as management to make sure that we try to get these athletes bursaries and try to support them until they finish university, then they can join the clubs," he said.
While it may be about discovering top runners for ASA, it is more about the positive societal benefits that accrue from sport that the Department of Basic Education have decided to work with the custodians of athletics in the country. One of the teachers who had accompanied learners of the Eastern Cape Mr. Mpho Ngoma who coordinates Learner Enrichment programmes said it best.
"I think the major issue that we can address through school sport is that of social ills. In terms of drug abuse, learner pregnancy and bullying in schools, as well as other social ills. So through this programme we are addressing those social ills and learners are participating positively because we want a fully developed citizen of the country through this school sport."