Search on for sporting heroes

SOUTH Africa's search for unheralded champions of sustainable development in sport through the yearly Murray and Roberts Jack Cheetham Memorial Award continues.

SOUTH Africa's search for unheralded champions of sustainable development in sport through the yearly Murray and Roberts Jack Cheetham Memorial Award continues.

Cheetham was a director of Murray and Roberts and the South African cricket team captain in the 1950s.

The award is a nation-building partnership project of Murray and Roberts, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee,Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.

It acknowledges Cheetham's inspirational and motivational ideals and his contribution to sports development and sports unity.

The 2006 award was won by the Nelson Mandela Township (Nemato) Rowing Club in Eastern Cape for teaching rowing to children from disadvantaged communities .

In 2007 the award went to the Kwanobuhle Hockey Development Programme in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, for arranging for about 750 children to get coaching from Eastern Cape hockey professional Jeremy Mambalu and to participate in regional leagues.

In 2008 the winner was the Welkom Wrestling Club development programme, which is led by Jan Bezuidenhout, a Welkom farmer and former Springbok wrestler and coach.

In 1992 Bezuidenhout decided to use wrestling as a vehicle for personal and community empowerment by training youths in Welkom, Thabong and Bronville.

Second place went to the Tiger Titans Cricket Club, led by teenager Ross McCreath in Bathurst, Port Elizabeth.

To be eligible for nomination in the 2009 award a sporting code, club or team must demonstrate a meaningful contribution to sports development in South Africa and must benefit previously disadvantaged individuals or people with disabilities.

Nominations must include:

lA description of the project and how it contributes to community upliftment;

lThe role of sport in the project, including specific examples of excellence in sport;

l The inspirational role of leadership in the project, including specific examples of leadership;

l Future plans and goals which will contribute to the sustainability of the project.

Post nominations to M&R Jack Cheetham Memorial Award, PO Box 1355, Houghton, 2041, fax: 011-483-9061 or e-mail:

Meanwhile, Murray and Roberts has decided to provide funding support for sports people with disabilities from the dividend gains of the company's Letsema Sizwe Broad-Based Community Trust, a broad-based BEE shareholder in the Murray and Roberts Group.

In 2008 the company identified triple gold medallist in the Beijing Paralympics, Hilton Langenhoven, as a beneficiary of the trust. Impressed by the ability Hilton demonstrated to conquer almost insurmountable odds, the trust allocated R100000 a year over five years to allow him to concentrate on preparing for the 2012 Paralympics.

For 2009 two disabled sports projects, Boccia for the Severely Disabled and Judo for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which were short-listed in the 2008 Murray and Roberts Jack Cheetham Memorial Award, have been identified as beneficiaries of the trust. Each project will receive R50000 per annum for three years.

Boccia for the Severely Disabled is a form of indoor bowls played by people with severe disabilities.

Its local pioneer is Ruon van Zyl, a victim of the 1950s polio epidemic. He recognised the value of Boccia for disabled children and introduced it to schools for the disabled across South Africa. Today more than 500 disabled South Africans participate in this Olympic sport.

Judo for the Blind and Visually Impaired's leading lights are Mike and Lorraine Job.

The couple are 6th degree judo black belts and instructors.

They introduced judo to the Athlone School for the Blind in Cape Town. By 2008, the pilot group had doubled to 68 participants, 15 of whom were selected to represent the winning Western Province team at the first National Championships for the South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled.