On Thursday 10 May, Graeme College received a donation from the Eastern Cape Academy of Sport as part of the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) Focus Schools programme. The donation of various rugby equipment, including tackle bags, crash shields and agility boxes, was handed over to Headmaster Kevin Watson at the school offices.
Graeme has been identified as one of the 10 schools in the Sarah Baartman District to be focused on by DSRAC in order to promote the participation in sport of schools and students. This is the first year that Graeme had been selected for this programme, which itself is in its first year of operation in its current state. Previous years had seen the department simply provide equipment to a range of schools, rather than focusing on specific schools for specific codes. Graeme has been selected as a focus school for rugby.
Sharief Gamiet, the Deputy Director of Sport and Recreation at DSRAC Sarah Baartman District, said, “Graeme College has been selected for rugby, because they are a good rugby school and they have always participated in our programmes as a department as well. We are really encouraged about what they are doing for rugby in the community.” Gamiet added that it was a natural choice to select Graeme as a focus school. “We know they are not only going to develop the sport at the school, but also in the greater community.”
Watson was very appreciative of the generous donation. “I would like to thank the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture for their generous sponsorship towards the development of rugby at Graeme,” said Watson. “We are also appreciative of the fact that Graeme has been identified as a focus school by Cricket South Africa for the development of cricket in the Sarah Baartman district.”
The provided equipment was specifically requested by the school, as they had stated that their tackle bags and crash shields had been worn out to the point of not being usable. In this way, the department is sure that the equipment will be used to its full purpose, as there is a need for this specific equipment at Graeme.
In addition to the Focus Schools Programme, the Eastern Cape Academy of Sport has also set up an Individual Assistance Programme (IAP), which aims to help promote specific athletes and help them in reach greater heights in sport.
Ten young athletes from the Sarah Baartman district are involved in the IAP, including four Grahamstown-based athletes. They are Siphosethu Dawethi, a boxer from Mfuzo Boxing Club in Joza; Dwayne Pharo, a sprinter from Kingswood College; Toni Rafferty, a swimmer from Diocesan School for Girls (DSG); and Yashin Naidoo, an archer who is a member of the Rhodes Archery Club and is home schooled.