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Talent ID

22 Offering Tlaka, no longer soaring Offering Tlaka, the first South African trampoline-athlete to qualify for the World Games, has decided not to continue with the sport, but to concentrate on his studies as first-year student in B.Comm-accountancy at the University of Pretoria, says his mentor and national coach of the trampoline team, Tiaan van der Walt. Van der Walt says he is very disappointed about Offering’s decision not to pursue a very promising career as a trampolinist. After being unable to train during his final term of school, Offering had ample time to study for the final exams. Van der Walt had encouraged him to pursue his studies after the young student excelled in his matric-examination with one distinction and B-symbols in all his other subjects. But, he was expecting that Offering would be following his promptings to work hard to improve his grades in his first year as a student, whilst continuing as a trampoline-athlete. This has, unfortunately, come to nothing. “He is not training at all. I am disappointed. I know it is not wishful thinking that Offering has the talent to become an Olympic medal-winner in the trampolinesport. He is fast, talented and has excellent balance.

“At the World Games in Canada, he was amongst the leaders after the first round, and gave a very impressive performance.” He unfortunately misjudged a landing and had to withdraw after he tore three liga-

Talented youngsters (from p18) fall and continued to win a medal in Spain, what if he qualified for the Beijing Olympics, what if he had done well in Beijing…? The young athletes all had some sort of support structure, but some enjoyed stronger support than others. Adolph had the least support — in rural KwaZulu-Natal he is cut off from the assistance other athletes receive from biokineticists, sport doctors, gym training and all the other inputs that help to create champions. He does not even live in the same town as his coach. Sabelo believes that his disappointing performances last year were partly due to the fact that his family were urging him to get a proper job instead of spending so much time on the athletic track, but a new coach has given him renewed focus. Yolana has had mixed relations with the professionals who support her at the hpc — during her down period last year, she broke Your Sport 2nd Quarter 2009

off contact with the sport psychologist who have been assisting her. Offering lived in the same house as his trainer and team mates and also had ample time to train in the sport-sympathetic environment of the TuksSport School. Although she has limited resources, Rebecca Khwela is very supportive of her talented granddaughter, Jennifer — who is also supported and cared for in many ways by her coach Julie Adamson and Macsteel Maestro’s. Grant Ive not only has the backing of his parents, but he also receives intensive training and supportive assistance from the professionals at the SA Tennis Association (SATA) performance centre based at the hpc at the University of Pretoria. But, in the end, the external factors can only help — or hinder. Ultimately, it is up to the individual athlete and his or her hunger to succeed, that will determine success. YS

•  Discipline: Trampoline •  Dream: No longer participates •  Coach’s verdict:  “Offering has the  talent to become an Olympic medalwinner in trampoline sport” ments in his leg in the fall. The fall also dashed Offering’s chance of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics. Van der Walt was not only a coach and mentor to the young trampolinist, he was also house master of the house where Offering stayed with the other members of the trampoline squad while he was still at school. “Because Offering has withdrawn from the World Games (in July this year in Kaohsiung City) he will be replaced by Lucky Radebe,” adds Van der Walt. During his matric year, Offering was deputy-head boy at the TUKS sport school, where he was also considered to be a gifted academic learner. At Greenside Primary School he was a Dux learner and a prefect in Gr7. At both primary and high school Offering showed that he could successfully combine his sporting career with academic excellence — and one could only guess about the impact of that fall in the World Games in Spain. Would Offering have made the same decision to quit his sport had he qualified to participate in the Beijing Olympic Games… and, who knows, perhaps won a medal? YS

resources: •  Athletics SA:  www.athletics.org.za •  Hpc Pretoria: http://web.up.ac.za/de fault.asp?ipkCategoryID=1795&subid=1 795&ipklookid=14&parentid=  •  Macsteel Maestro Life Skill Unit:  www.macsteelmaestros.co.za. Their  Ithuseng football life skills programme is a THETA credit bearing  unit:  Tel: 011 217 0600 or www. theta.org.za/projects/default. asp?thepage=lsss.htm. •  SA Gymnastics Federation: http:// sagf.co.za/index.php •  SA Tennis Association: www.satennis.co.za •  Swimming SA: www.swimsa.co.za •  Trampoline Gymnastics: http://sagf. co.za/dpage.php?disc_id=7 •  Wrestling SA: www.wrestling.org.za/ SAstoei/Admin/Admin.htm

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