Daily Dispatch

Board man smiling all way bank – and US


IN the spirit of Mandela Day, Ngqushwa Municipali­ty sponsored Melikhaya Nonyukela’s trip to the US where he will take part in a global draughts competitio­n after numerous failed attempts to secure the needed amount from various government and private entities.

As part of the Mandela Day celebratio­ns the municipali­ty handed over R30 000 to the draughtsma­n to finance his travel expenses to the US Open and World Qualifiers which will take over a period of two weeks.

Nonyukela, who is a Transnet employee at the Port of Ngqura, said he has no words to describe how he was feeling.

“To me this is a huge thing. We [draughts players] struggle with everything because I live in Port Elizabeth (PE) and I tried many government department­s and private companies over there, but no one was willing to help.

“Even last week I was calling other people because I was running out of time but now all my troubles are because the mayor has sorted for me.”

Nonyukela joined a draughts club in 1997.

“When I grew my whole family used to play the board, including my grandfathe­r, uncle including my brother.

“But it’s only when I came to PE when I got to realise my love and passion for the game because the standards were very high that side,” he said.

He continued: “That’s when I started competing seriously. Even my first trip to Gauteng was through the game.

“In 2000 I won a local competitio­n and then in February in 2001 I went to play the Walk Ins Tournament organised by Colin Webster.

“In the competitio­n played against other eight provinces I came in at number three,” he said.

He said he was overseas to observe sorted everything how other countries play the sport and how they nuture their talent.

“I will be learning new things that other countries are doing in this game.

“For instance, abroad they use a stopwatch during a game and that’s one of the things I want to introduce to my club when I come back.

“I want to go into schools around Peddie to teach this game because the municipali­ty is willing to walk through with me on this journey and I want give back to them.”

For the first four days of his trip, Nonyukela will be in Lebanon, Tennessee for the US Open. After that they will rest for two days before heading to the World Qualifiers in Petal, Mississipp­i.

Nonyukela continued: “I want to prove to people who have the mentality that draughts are for people who are just lazy that they are wrong.”

He thanked his colleagues for the support they gave him and urged government to take the board game seriously, just as other countries do.

 ?? Picture: SUPPLIED ?? ON BOARD: Councillor Nzuzo Mquqo stands with Melikhaya Nonyukela and mayor Minkelo Siwisa during the official handover
Picture: SUPPLIED ON BOARD: Councillor Nzuzo Mquqo stands with Melikhaya Nonyukela and mayor Minkelo Siwisa during the official handover

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