School sport limbers up for hectic 2007 schedule
As is the case throughout the country, schools in Gauteng North have immersed themselves in this season's track and field athletic programme.
The build-up to the Gauteng Provincial Championships for high schools, which are to be held at the Germiston Stadium on March 9-10, has already begun at inter-school level.
"What is happening right now is that all the different schools in the Soshanguve, Mamelodi and Bronkhorstspruit areas have already competed and are involved in cluster championships, where districts will choose their teams. Those district teams will then compete at inter-district level between February 16 and March 5 in preparation for the Provincial Challenge in Germiston," said Lucas Makena, head of Gauteng School Sport.
Makena said he expected a much higher number of participants from township schools, particularly in field events.
"We expect a higher turn out in areas which, traditionally, our children had been unable to take part in because of the lack of facilities. This is because of measures we have taken to remedy the situation by one; handing out to almost all schools the Human Movement Equipment, a physical education equipment bag containing facilities used to help the child's eye to hand coordination that they need when jumping or throwing.
"The second measure we have taken, is to employ 121 sports assistants in schools in Gauteng who are there to assist the kids with their training and offer more hands on, expert advice.
"Therefore, this year we are better prepared. We started earlier and our programme is more structured. We expect fireworks and foresee old records being broken and new ones being set," Makena said.
In netball, the programme officially only starts at the beginning of March, Di Woolley president of SA Schools Netball said.
"On February 17, 18, 19 our National U19 Schools team will play a friendly game against the Tukkies team and the University of Johannesburg team at the University of Pretoria," Woolley said.
In football, the schools have already kicked off their U17 Coca Cola Football Stars national tournament. The Gauteng Provincial Finals, which will take place on March 25, and feature six district teams. The National Championships of this tournament will be held from April 26-29.
The Mille U14 Tournament also starts on March 6 in all nine provinces. This tournament covers the primary and junior secondary schools. The national championships will be held in September.
The MTN Cup, catering for the U16s will kick off on April 20, throughout the country, while the the Kay Motsepe Cup which covers the U17-21s, and sponsored by businessman Patrice Motsepe, will kick off on March 6. The finals take place in early July.
Rugby, softball and cricket will start late in April.
More than 3000 high schools have registered for the Coca-Cola Football Stars U18 schools tournament. The provincial finals will be played in March and the national finals on April 27.