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Sport
Unfolding the future

The enthusiasm shown by 100 or so aspiring 800 m athletes was the highlight from the middle-distance talent identification and scouting camps presented by Elana Meyer in partnership with Zola Budd Pieterse.

Both camps were held at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport, which is also the headquarters of Meyer’s Endurocad.

She said: “We want young girls to understand that participation and performance in athletics can be a key that can unlock amazing opportunities.

“The highlight from both camps for me was the enthusiasm and interactive involvement for all the sessions. The effort they showed when we did the testing was also impressive and amazing to see!”

High school girls were targeted for the camps. The aim was to encourage more young women to participate and compete in athletics, and through that potentially qualify for a full scholarship. Some 100 young women were selected from 12 schools. In addition, 10 wildcard applications were included. It was a diverse group of young women with different backgrounds, ethnic groups, and sports codes.

Strict measures and Covid-19 protocols were put in place to ensure the safety of all participants. Sessions were presented by specialists in their fields like Dr Ross Tucker (Sport Scientist), Zola Budd Pieterse, Kyla Jacobs and Nadeel Wildscutt (US Scholarship Opportunities), Christelene Steinhobel (Mental Health & Performance Mindset Coach) and Ernie Gruhn (Coach).

There were also sessions for eating plans, self-defence, and career development. Three specific tests were conducted to identify 800-m potential. These are the vertical-jump test, the six-minute Cooper test and 40-m sprint test.

The vertical jump test was conducted by a Stellenbosch Academy of Sport biokineticist with the aim of identifying explosiveness and power through movement. The six-minute Cooper test is a popular maximal running test for aerobic fitness and the 40-m sprint test’s aim is to determine acceleration and speed.

After the camps all the participants qualified to join the Endurocad Empowerment programme. The programme will prepare athletes to apply for scholarships through three pillars: athlete development, personal development and career preparation.

“With the Endurocad Empowerment Programme the goal is to give girls the opportunity to develop as athlete, on a personal level and in career guidance. This will put them in the best possible position to qualify for bursaries,” said Meyer.

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