East London – Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet says more needs to be done to recognise past and present sporting legends, who started their careers in the province.
Speaking at Bhisho State House at an event to honour newly-crowned IBF Welterweight Women’s champion, Noni Tenge, and three of the province’s Protea netball players, Kiviet said recognising sporting heroes was crucial.
“Top athletes inspire nations and contribute significantly to the nourishment of their local brands. Tenge has done her bit to focus the world’s attention on our province. We congratulate her,” said Kiviet.
Kiviet said provincial government would be undertaking a number of steps to rectify the situation, including the establishment of a provincial sport funding entity, negotiations with local government to ring-fence sport facilities development funding from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, and supporting transformation of Sport Recreation South Africa and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
Boxing South Africa (BSA) representative, Phakamile Jacobs, said government needed to address the issue of poor sports facilities in the province, particularly for boxing, as the sport had produced some of the greatest icons in the province.
“Even though we have produced many national and international boxing champions in this province, the lack of infrastructure still hampers development in the province,” said Jacobs.
He said it was shocking to see the conditions under which boxers had to train in the province.
“No champion should have to train under such conditions,” added Jacobs, appealing to the premier and the Department of Sports and Recreation to address the issue.
“I know this would be a long-term initiative, but we are prepared to wait for the sake of potential future boxing superstars.” – Thando Cezula, BuaNews