Several of the country’s top endurance athletes have been given a place to train in a satelitte programme affiliated with the prestigious ENDUROCAD high-performance endurance sports academy.
Based in Stellenbosch, ENDUROCAD is a non-profit organisation that provides a complete sports management solution for aspiring endurance athletes. The organisation aims to give local athletes the opportunity to improve their performance and enable them to make a living using their athletic talent. Ultimately, the objective is for identified athletes to be able to build a sporting brand for themselves.
ENDUROCAD’s brand ambassador and CEO is Elana Meyer, Olympian and former long-distance running world record holder. She recently stated, “I am pleased to announce that after an action packed four days in Stellenbosch, during which each athlete was carefully monitored and assessed, we will be taking on eleven promising young endurance athletes. We believe that with our help they will compete on the world athletics stage in the not-too-distant future.” The athletes are Akhona Mdaka, André Afrika, Ashley Smith, Beatrice Themane, Carina Viljoen, Justin Fritz, Lukhanyo Nokabada, Tshwanelo Maruping, Nicole van der Merwe and Simonay Weitsz.
“Africa has proven time again that we are a wonderful source of world-class athletic talent. Although the Kenyans and Ethiopians currently often dominate the major marathons around the world, we are convinced that South Africa can produce long-distance athletes with great enough talent to take over the winners’ podium,” says Meyer.
Aside from the four day assessment, the young athletes also underwent extensive scientific, physiological and psychological testing, life skills assessments, training and monitoring. They also attended dietary workshops and received personal coaching.
A first of its kind on the African continent, ENDUROCAD is funded by some of South Africa’s leading multinationals and community organisations that are heavily committed to sports development. These include Investec Asset Management, Adidas, Virgin Active, Discovery Vitality, Vital Health Foods, KPMG, Tsogo Sun, Gallo Images, Community Chest, Remgro, Stellenbosch Academy of Sport, the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport and CATHSSETA.