South Africa’s high-performance sports academy Endurocad recently held its first women-only skills training and assessment camp. Olympic medallist Elana van Zyl-Meyer, CEO of Endurocad, says this is a move towards giving South Africa’s small pool of female athletes the opportunity to have a world-class career.
Endurocad is a non-profit organisation that offers all South African distance runners the chance to become world-class athletes through comprehensive training programmes. At the women-only Endurocad-run camp in May, over 20 young female athletes from across South Africa underwent vigorous training and assessments at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport. The camp was held over three days, and covered a broad variety of skills, as well as comprehsive testing including psychological, medical and physical. “We had sports scientists, psychologists, coaches and doctors on hand to evaluate all the athletes, and to oversee the different evaluation components,” says Van Zyl-Meyer.
Endurocad selected 14 young women to participate in the upcoming programme that focuses on women’s development and leadership. They are Lyndi Roelofse, Shanley Koekemoer, Liza Kellerman, Cara du Preez, Fina Dube, Dipuo Mashihi, Glenrose Xaba, Lee-Anne Blake, Casey Bosman, Anneken Viljoen, Almi Jordaan, Chante Dippenaar, Kayla de Waal and Elné Conradie.
“We’re aiming to get all these girls, who are mostly in high school, to the next level, and enable them to represent South Africa and do well at IAAF championships says Van Zyl-Meyer. The next under 20 championships, will take place in July 2018, will be held in Tampere, Finland. “Ultimately we want to see more women getting medals at championships and qualify as IAAF gold label athletes”, says van Zyl-Meyer.
This year Endurocad received a sponsorship boost, with four new partnerships: navigation specialists TomTom, payment handler [email protected], Qhubeka and Stellenbosch University’s Institute for Sport and Exercise Medicine (ISEM). Every athlete in the academy gets a chance to qualify for a premium TomTom Runner 3 multisport training watch that will allow them to track and analyse their training, monitor their heart rate and measure their progress. The [email protected] donation goes towards giving athletes access to computers and computer training, an exciting addition to the enterprise-development component of the academy. ISEM provides athletes with free access to medical expertise and services and Qhubeka will provide commuting bicycles .