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RETIRED Springbok wrestler Jan Bezuidenhout deserves help from fellow South Africans to fulfil his wish of nurturing young aspirants into future champions.
His Welkom Wrestling Club is the 2008 winner of the Murray & Roberts-sponsored Jack Cheetham Memorial Award.
The club received a floating trophy and R500000, which was spread over five years.
The award acknowledges the inspirational and motivational ideals of Cheetham, a former Murray & Roberts director, community builder and erstwhile national cricket team captain in the 1950s.
It is a nation-building partnership project of Murray & Roberts, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.
Before winning the award, Bezuidenhout had been using his own money since 1992, when he started training children from Welkom and the surrounding black residential areas and informal settlements including Thabong.
Bezuidenhout, who is also a popular farmer and community development practitioner, said he started the development programme to instil a sense of self-confidence, pride and achievement in the youth, some of whom are orphans and or destitute.
He, with his two sons Pieter and Jan Jnr, works with more than 75 boys and girls as young as four years old, who train for two hours, four days a week in a hall at the Welkom showgrounds.
The development programme has produced top achievers including Hilton Arends, Denver Jansen and Piet Olivier - all South African junior and senior wrestling champions who have earned Protea colours.
The club is proud to have also produced Sylvester Williams, who, at the age of eight, became the first black South African wrestler after 1994 to achieve South African colours 1994.
lThe Welkom Wrestling Club needs a bus to transport its young players to provincial and national tournaments throughout South Africa.
To help, phone Pieter Bezuidenhout on 082-413-1760.