To commemorate the late East London’s swimming coach JD van der Walt, the department of sport recreation, arts and culture (Dsrac) recently handed over about R30,000 worth of swimming equipment approximate amount of R30,000 to the Piranhas swimming club Van der Walt coached and managed for years.
The club participated in many competitions and often didn’t have adequate resources for its athletes.
AW Barnes Primary School principal Geoffrey Gemiet said swimming was his life.
“Our ambition is to have the children of Parkside be part of the top swimming levels in the country, especially the swimmers in the Piranhas swimmers. We would like a roof over the pool, so that children can swim throughout the year,” Gemiet said.
Dsrac MEC Bulelwa Tunyiswa said the main task is to create an active and winning nation that is representative of its people.
“Dsrac has a task to create an active environment for people and to identify and nurture the talent. He [Van der Walt] was involved with aquatic sports during his youth, and became involved as an administrator in charge of education and training in the region.
“During his time as an administrator in charge of education and training, he was heavily involved with swimming development in underprivileged communities, and he became a mentor and father figure to many troubled youngsters. in his community.
“JD lived the ethos of the ‘Thuma Mina’ way before our government even embraced it,” them,” said Tunyiswa.
She said Dsrac saw it befitting to honour Van Dder Walt, advance his legacy and honour his memory by sponsoring swimmers with equipment that will encourage them to pay it forward. and take up where Van Der Walt left.
“We are of the persuasion that such equipment are seeds that will bear much fruit. Through these initiatives, we want the future Siya Kolisi, Luvo Manyonga and Caster Semenya. We want to see international, national and provincial swimmers from these young athletes,” said MEC.
Tunyiswa promised they will build a roof for they swimming pool and also add heating.
Van Der Walt’s wife, Samantha, Van Der Walt said it’s validation for all the hard work that her husband put in.
“It is quite an honour that not only the community is recognising my husband’s work, but also the government. itself has also.
“We are carrying on with JD’s legacy as his family. We currently have a programme where schools come to the swimming club to learn to swim.”
“The main challenge we are facing is that people cannot afford the necessities of taking part in the swimming club,” said Van Der Walt.
The club received 20 swim kicker boards, 20 swimming caps, 16 pairs of swimming goggles and 12 pairs of swimming fins.