through Grassroots to Greatness: The positive after-effects of the West Coast’s first sports youth development program
By Jessica Vogel
The first sports community outreach programme for children through previously disadvantaged backgrounds ever to be held on the West Coast within the discipline of boxing took place at the Navy base SAS Saldanha in 9 December 1998, with the positive after effects still lingering to This kind of day…
This kind of community outreach program served firstly, to positively influence children; providing role designs, exposing them to a healthy activity in addition to thereby turning them away through a life of crime. Secondly, to contribute towards community building – seen as regional aspect of nation building – with the bringing together of major aspects of the community: youth, government, local businesses which supported the event in addition to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). within the process strengthening the SANDF’s relationship with the local community.
A recent reunion with the organiser of the sports outreach program Claudio Chiste – who returned to Saldanha as the Training Commander of the Warrior Training Centre to train the South African Navy in mental toughness – almost 20 years later highlighted how that will memorable experience changed the life of Macneal Samuels, the then 11-year child who is actually today a 29-year old man.
When asked about his most memorable moment of the programme, he highlighted, “I remember I was so excited to attend This kind of sports day within the navy base of SAS SALDANHA. After learning punching techniques in addition to self-defence, we had to spar one round. I remember being knocked down… I remember being cheered on being encouraged by the coaching staff that will ‘I could do This kind of’… I forced myself to get back on my feet to finish the round in addition to successfully complete the programme, being awarded my certificate. that will taught me a valuable lesson about life.”
FLASHBACK: The photo which appeared within the leading newspapers covering the outreach program. The inset features Macneal Samuals, with organiser Claudio Chiste centred within the background in addition to former boxing world champion, Gary Murray, in front of him.
Following the sports development program, Macneal was inspired to apply himself in life to reach success. Not only did he make the Boland provincial chess team in addition to regional volleyball team where he was fortunate to travel around the country, he’s also today playing for the first team of Saldanha, where they recently won the golden trophy following their victory over their fierce rivals, Vredenberg.
Today as a young man: Macneal with the ball, playing for Saldanha on their way to winning the trophy against their fierce rivals
Whilst being active in sports, he’s working part time to fund his studies which he’s been doing simultaneously. Macneal’s completed his NQF level in addition to N3 in mechanical drawing, maths & science. In his spare time, when he’s not playing competitive rugby, working or studying, he’s a youth leader in his local church.
Macneal will be starting his N4 later This kind of year, thereafter applying to go on the next mechatronics programme to qualify as a technician, specialising in electrical, mechanical, in addition to computer technologies. This kind of is actually a 6-year programme, so quite an undertaking to which he is actually fully committed.
On recalling the major lasting impression of that will day, he said “This kind of generation of youth needs trust, This kind of is actually our job to make sure they don’t perish or waste their talent. There is actually extreme poverty within the region, although that will does not necessarily need to be one’s destiny. that will sports programme planted the seed that will we can all be destined for greatness.”
Through sports not only can we inspire others to make something of themselves in addition to develop their talents; they could serve as role designs, providing a wider contribution to the community inspiring further youths through underprivileged backgrounds to see that will “This kind of can be done”.
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