The biggest Skateboarding event to take place on South African soil, the Kimberley Diamond Cup!

SKATEBOARDING AHEAD OF THE TRANSFORMATION GAME

In a week that has seen four sporting codes potentially been banned from hosting international tournaments for not meeting transformation targets, the local skateboarding fraternity is calling on the Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula to acknowledge those sporting disciplines that have embraced transformation.

Mbalula threatened to withdraw funding from the country’s major sports bodies, including Athletics SA, Cricket SA, Rugby SA and Netball SA and stated that they would lose their rights to host international tournaments if they failed to comply with the transformation agenda.

Tim McFerran, president of the World Skateboarding Federation, a global governing body for skateboarding, points out that skateboarding is one of a few all-inclusive sports in this country.  “You only need to look at the podiums of any of the local contests that are hosted throughout the year as part of the Kimberley Diamond Cup and its Skateboarding for Hope road show to see a true representation of the Rainbow Nation.  Skateboarding creates social cohesion across all races and it’s the only sport that I know of where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed,” explains McFerran.

McFerran attributes the transformation in skateboarding to the amount of development that has occurred on grassroots level over the past five years.  The Skateboarding for Hope community outreach initiative is supported by the Northern Cape provincial government as part of their youth development programme and has mobilised the youth of South Africa to become involved with skateboarding.  The community outreach programme has been promoting skateboarding as a positive lifestyle choice, while identifying and nurturing talent.  The extensive road show campaign reaches all corners of South Africa and has been engaging with South African youth from Soweto to Kimberley.  Each skate clinic serves as a vehicle for development and growth.   In addition, the world-class Kumba skate plaza in Kimberley offers what is arguably the most comprehensive programme in the world with free daily access to all youth.  Events are presented on a daily and weekly basis and include skate training lessons, leagues and after-school programmes.

“The number of contests that have been created in the run-up to the Kimberley Diamond Cup skateboarding world championships have nurtured these talented skaters and provided them with an opportunity to hone their skills and to showcase their abilities.  We have been consistently impressed with how quickly local youngsters have developed into competitive athletes.  The fact that South African skateboarders are being invited to participate at global events is testament to the success of these development initiatives,” states McFerran.

“With the 2020 Olympics around the corner and the strong possibility of skateboarding being included at the Tokyo Games, skateboarding in South Africa is in great shape and is a true representation of this great nation.  I feel that it should be acknowledged as such and that the national ministry should come out in support of sporting disciplines like skateboarding, who have taken the lead in the transformation process.  The International Olympic committee sent representatives to the world championships in Kimberley last year to get a first-hand look at the contest and observe the fruits of the youth programmes.  They had the chance to learn more about the legacy and sustainability of this great event, which are hot buttons in global sporting events at the moment,” mentions McFerran.

According to McFerran, the skateboarding development programme has produced several South African athletes capable of winning medals in Tokyo if they continue to work hard and get support.  It is an incredible opportunity for skateboarders from South Africa and the rest of the continent.  “Five years ago the skateboarding scene in South Africa was almost non-existent and now it is recognized globally with many South African athletes competing internationally.  The depth of talent is testament to the vision of the project leaders, who persevered in creating a vibrant skateboarding community despite the many obstacles we had to overcome in our efforts to grow a previously unknown sport in South Africa,” explains McFerran.

The Kimberley Diamond Cup skateboarding world championships presented by Kumba Iron Ore takes place at the world-class Kumba Skate Plaza from 3 – 8 October 2016.  Last year saw top international skateboarders from 41 countries descending on the capital of the Northern Cape to earn the world championships title and claim the largest prize purse in skateboarding.  With the potential inclusion of skateboarding in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics, this year’s world championships promise to be even better and most importantly, the youth of South Africa will be part of this great event.
KDC Grand Slam at UltimateX

For more information, visit www.kimberleydiamondcup.com.