The Eastern Cape team of 46 intellectually impaired learners formed part of the 791 learners from seven Provinces at the South African Sport Association Open Games which took place in Limpopo recently.
Of the 22 medals are eight gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals.
Rentia Oosthuizen from Sarah Baartman District won 4 Medals (2 Gold and 2 Bronze) in women downs catergories and Nomandla Mzimeli won the best defender trophy.
Five players from the EC Province have also been selected to represent the Province in the 2024 International Games in Antaya, Turkey.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think one day I will travel overseas,” said Sibongile Simanga, EC Netball team captain who is one of the five learners selected to participate in Turkey.
She added that it was never easy and through camps, proper training, commitment and focus they ‘gained strength to give it all to make the Province proud’.
Tokelo Mohoto who is the soccer team Captain said that reaching the finals of the game was not child’s play at all.
“I understand that we come here to bring the trophy home but unfortunately we lost the game on penalties, so on behalf of the team I would like to send a special thanks to the coach, teachers and the Education Department for believing in us and hope they continue to support us,” said Mohoto.
The ECDoE Inclusive Education Acting Director, Simone Ncapayi said that the games were established to create a new world of inclusion for learners living with severe intellectual disabilities.
“Being here has exposed learners to an environment where every person is welcome regardless of ability or disability.”
“We are proud of our leaners and we wish to congratulate them for successfully coming back with 22 medals, we believe that they will continue showing the world that they are coming from the province of legends,” added Ncapayi.
Eastern Cape Sports Association for Para Athletes with Intellectual Disability Provincial Chairperson, Thando Giwu applauded the partnership between the Education Department, Department of Sports Recreation and Rural Development saying that they are honoured to be part of the partnership.
“We have been working tirelessly with the Education Department to support these special games for Inclusion, which reflects our commitment to the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in all areas of our society”.
He added that he has hope that more stakeholders will come in to assist on developing the skills and talent of the learners as they will be traveling abroad to represent South Africa.
“EC Education Department is truly blessed to have such a wonderful and a strong team and we believe they will continue to work together onwards and upwards” said ECDoE Learner Enrichment Programme, Acting Deputy Chief Education Specialist Khulile Nyakana encouraging the EC team.
Additionally Nyakana appreciated the work that was put behind team EC and those who were working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that this program reaches the learners. “Their passion, skills and dedication is unrivalled and has been the key to our success throughout the games” concluded Nyakana.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think one day I will travel overseas” said Sibongile Simanga, EC Netball team captain, “It was never easy and through camps, proper training, commitment and focus gave us the strength to give it all to make our province proud,” added Sibongile.
“Reaching the finals of this game is not child’s play and I understand that we come here to bring the trophy home but unfortunately we lost the game on penalties, so on behalf of the team I would like to send a special thanks to the coach, teachers and the Education Department for believing in us and hope they continue to support us.” Said the soccer team captain, Tokelo Mohoto.