Joy and sorrow

IN MEMORY: Nemato Change a Life mourned the death of their Handball Club captain, Anelisa Makeleni on June 25. Makeleni died after taking an overdose of medication Picture: SUPPLIED

JUNE was a month of joy and sorrow for Nemato Change a Life (NCAL), as they celebrated their sixth birthday but mourned the untimely death of a young member.

Anelisa Makeleni, 18, captain of the Nemato Handball Club, died after taking an overdose of medication.

“We didn’t see signs of the pain she was in,” said NCAL founder, Jan Blom. “We failed to give her hope. We are very sad. Anelisa, be in peace.”

Youth Day, June 16, is a very special day for the organisation, as it is not only the anniversary of the Soweto uprising – a milestone in the liberation struggle – it is also the club’s birthday.

On Youth Day in 2006, then Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mike Stofile, officially opened NCAL’s first sports club, the Nemato Rowing Club.

“NCAL is in its own way continuing the battle for a better future for our youth,” said Blom.

Every Youth Day the club gives awards to all deserving members who work very hard to change their lives for the better. First prize, the Super Star of the Year Award, went to Lifa Nxopho, the 14-year-old captain of the rowing club.

“He also won a nice cell phone,” said Blom.

CELEBRATION: Youth Day on June 16 was also Nemato Change a Life’s (NCAL) sixth birthday. NCAL members Wendi Hoyi (left) and Nompumelelo Gongqa pose with the cake Picture: SUPPLIED

Handball Club

NCAL made the development of its new handball club its first priority. The process of affiliating the club with the handball associations at district, provincial and national level has begun.

To make the club more active, and to get ready to play matches and tournaments, more members are needed.

“We are planning a handball day for all members of NCAL and to recruit new members,” said Blom.

Fencing Club

The AGM of the Eastern Cape Fencing Association was held at the NCAL classroom in Nemato, and was followed by a clinic given by Jon Paul Raper, an international top fencer and modern pentathlon athlete, and his coach/mother Jessica Raper.

“The clinic was great and gave us a lot of insight in the secrets of top fencing and new knowledge for our inexperienced coaches,” said Blom. “We are now preparing for competition in Port Elizabeth in August. That will be the first competition ever for our young club.”

Rowing Club

At the request of other clubs in the Eastern Cape, NCAL postponed its Nemato Sculls Head from its original date in early July until early August.

The decision by the schools’ rowing association to no longer allow clubs to participate in schools’ competitions, was discussed at the AGM of the Eastern Cape Rowing Association.

“We welcome this decision,” said Blom. “Clubs will be forced to create their own competitions. This is a great opportunity to move away from the highly inconvenient schools calendar with rowing as a summer sport and its competitions in two short periods before and after the summer holiday.

“Two years ago we moved away from the school system to a year planning with long distance competitions between June and August and 2000m races between September and November. We are looking forward to other clubs joining us,” he said.

“South African long distance club championships in August and 2000m championships in November would make the season complete. It will make club rowing very attractive and can contribute a lot towards growing the sport in South Africa.”

Gymnastics Club

This was a month of training for the gymnasts, without competitions.

Blom said there was steady progress in the skills and technique of the gymnasts. To avoid mistakes and to speed-up progress, coaches would like to go to two courses in the next few weeks, one for trampolining and the other for tumbling. However, it seems other clubs are not keen and the courses might be cancelled.

He said the club is trying hard to maintain the gymnastic equipment but are finding it an uphill battle because the equipment is stored outside, in the rain.

“When we get land, we should prioritise indoor space for gymnastics,” said Blom. “We’ll probably not be able to afford a full size sports hall, but we should at least try to get indoor storage space for our equipment.”

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