The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation and the Prime Human Performance Institute entered into a ground-breaking partnership to set up a multi-sport Elite Athlete Development Programme (EADP).
The Programme which is administered by the Prime Sports Development Trust caters for the Sports Science, High Performance and Medical needs of the best 115 athletes from 18 different sporting codes from across the province.
Prime Human Performance Institute also underscores its commitment to the EADP by adding a further 13 athletes to the EADP Pro Bono. The Athletes are selected by the various sporting Federations to be on the EADP.
The initiative was set up in 2013 as a pilot project and in 2014 the Department of Sport and Recreation came on board in providing funding for the programme that allowed it to expand to its present intake of 123 athletes from 18 different sporting codes in the first year.
“We are delighted about this important partnership between the Department of Sport and Recreation in KwaZulu-Natal and the Prime Human Performance Institute,” said MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation Mrs Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha.
“The Elite Athlete Development Programme will ensure that our athletes from the sporting codes will receive the best available scientific support to help them become world champions. This will also position KwaZulu-Natal as the Mecca for sporting excellence.”
With the focus fully on the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 the province is hoping that the programme will be able to produce a number of the athletes on Team South Africa that will be heading to the showpiece event in South America.
“As the country prepares for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, we believe KwaZulu-Natal will be able to produce athletes who will bring back medals and making us claim our rightful place in the world of sport.
“We will support all efforts that are aimed at making this important programme available to young and upcoming athletes from poor backgrounds.”
Dennis Jackson who is the EADP Director had this to say about the programme on its inseption “The Elite Athlete Development Programme is a landmark high performance and sports transformation programme that gives Sports Science assistance to KZN’s top sports talent, enabling them to reach their full potential,”
“123 athletes were selected by the Department and the Provincial Sporting Federations and KZN undoubtedly has the talent within to produce world class talent, we just needed a vehicle to harness that talent so that these athletes are given the best possible shot at making it to the top.”
After the first year of the EADP the athletes returned 17 medals at world events, 31 medals at national championship level and 80 provincial championship medals, a return that Jackson described as “better than we could ever have expected.”
Sibhidla–Saphetha had the following to say on the success of the first year of the programme “KwaZulu-Natal undoubtedly has the pool of talent from which we can produce world-class athletes.
“It is now clear from the exciting results that we have achieved in the first year of this project, that this partnership with Prime Human Performance Institute was the right vehicle to harness that talent so that these athletes are given an equal opportunity of making it to the top.”