Press Releases

2009 Jack Cheetham Award

21 October 2009

  • SA Tug-of-War Adopt a School project wins 2009 Jack Cheetham Award
  • Murray & Roberts launches new sports development award

The 2009 Murray & Roberts Jack Cheetham Memorial Award was presented to the South African Tug-of-War Adopt a School project at a gala dinner in Johannesburg on 20 October.

In partnership with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and Sowetan newspaper, Murray & Roberts selected the development program in recognition of its excellence and significant community impact.

In a surprise development, Murray & Roberts extended the special award made to visually impaired Olympian Hilton Langenhoven in 2008 by announcing the launch of a new annual sports award, the Murray & Roberts Letsema Award, which recognises development projects for sports people with disabilities. The inaugural 2009 Letsema Award was presented to Judo for the Blind and Visually Impaired in recognition of its excellent achievement in the sport and development of visually impaired young sports men and women.

The winners of the two awards each receive prize money of R500 000, payable over five years. A runner up of each of the awards receives R150 000 over three years. These awards are funded by the Letsema Sizwe Broad-Based Community Trust, part of the broad-based BEE shareholder structure established by Murray & Roberts in 2005.

SA Tug-of-War Adopt-a-School project

The project represents the vision of the South African Tug-of-War Federation to transform and develop the sport at schools. Initiated in 2007, the project requires that senior clubs adopt one school annually in their geographic area and develop the sport at the schools. Schools in historically disadvantaged communities are the primary target.

To date, 30 schools in eight provinces are benefiting from the Adopt a School project, and plans to establish a core growth area in the ninth province, KwaZulu Natal, have been implemented. To ensure sustainability, the senior clubs remain responsible for the sport at adopted schools and junior participants are mentored by champion players and encouraged to join the senior clubs when they become eligible. This transfers the development at schools to senior levels and it expands the membership base of the sport.

Tug-of-War is a fast-growing sport in 54 countries. It is recognised by the International Olympic Committee and is an official event at the International World Games. It teaches children the values of teamwork, discipline and good sportsmanship. At schools it is played in summer and serves as a basis to establish fitness for winter sports. Since the Tug-of-War Federation established the sport at the Gateway Home for intellectually impaired in Gauteng, a significant decline in disciplinary transgressions and general aggression has been reported.

The Adopt-a-School project is contributing significantly to growth in the sport, particularly in the rural areas. Uptake growth of 11% per annum over the past two years has exceeded the federation's expectations and the recent SA Junior Tug-of-War Championships recorded an all-time record of 183 teams participating in the event.

One of the early successes of the project has been the Suurbraak Primary School near Swellendam in the Western Cape. Based in the impoverished rural village of Suurbraak, the school has produced a steady stream of medal winners

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