FORMER South African middle-distance runner Oupa Maruping is ploughing his experience back into the community by joining forces with a Johannesburg school to develop athletics.
Maruping, a veteran of the 800m event, is working with Hoërskool Vorentoe in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.
Sport and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile is also throwing his weight behind the development programme.
Maruping said: "Athletics South Africa has finally issued us with an endorsement letter to run the programme. Maruping is a close friend of South African 800m record holder Hezekiel Sepeng.
"We deal with promising youngsters from all over the country who are recruited to further their studies at Vorentoe, while at the same time getting the best athletics coaching.
"We have decided to start with the basics so they grow up knowing everything about athletics, from track and field to cross country and road running."
Maruping said he was over the moon that the department of sport and recreation had agreed to help them on issues relating to nutrition and medical needs.
"As Hoërskool Vorentoe, our aim is to produce the best athletes for South Africa. We want to see this country producing the best results in athletics again.
"In South Africa we have the best resources compared to other countries on the continent, who are winning medals left, right and centre, despite having little financial assistance. We have 28 young athletes at our school and we are getting more from the Eastern Cape and North West in the new year," Maruping said.
"Our development programme will have a link with the one that will soon be unveiled by Tokkie (Sepeng) for elite athletes."