The Rep

Nkwanca pupil wins in SA U14 indoor rowing competitio­n

- ZINTLE BOBELO

Nkwanca High School pupil Israel Tshikala’s powerful strokes earned him a gold medal at the Under 14 South African indoor rowing championsh­ips in Rustenburg recently.

The 13-year-old grade 8 pupil was one of 13 from Nkwanca to make it to the national competitio­n.

There were eight other pupils from Komani schools – five from Lingelihle High and three from Maria Louw High.

Indoor Rowing is a relatively new sport performed on a rowing machine (ergo), which is traditiona­lly used for the purpose of exercise or rowing training.

The sport was created in 1981 when Concept2, an American manufactur­er of rowing equipment, developed its first rowing machine.

Hundreds of indoor rowing races are now held around the world each year, including the World Indoor Rowing Championsh­ips, according to topendspor­ts.com.

Nkwanca coach Viwe MfaxaZikal­ala said Tshikala had shown a firm interest in the sport from the beginning and his discipline took him straight to first position in the nationals.

“We started preparing in January. I had 40 pupils from the school and the more we took part in the competitio­ns, the more the number of athletes started going down.

“We then advanced from the provincial trials to the nationals where we had 13 pupils from Nkwanca, five from Lingelihle High and three from Maria Louw,” said Mfaxa-Zikalala.

“Israel has done us proud and he follows in his brother’s footsteps.

“His brother is a three-time indoor rowing champion,” she added.

Mfaxa-Zikalala said the national championsh­ips were extremely tough.

“The competitio­n was no child’s play but they worked extremely hard throughout. Gym owner Xolani Damane, from Nomzamo, Mlungisi, played a huge role in terms of fitness. He allowed us to use his gym and he even assisted in training the boys.”

Mfaxa-Zikalala said Tshikala’s achievemen­t was proof that her hard work had also paid off.

“Rowing is a very fair sport and it all depends on these young people if they want to make a success out of it.”

She acknowledg­ed the support she got from the school and parents and gave high credit to national sports administra­tor Virginia Mabaso.

“She ensures that our children participat­e in these competitio­ns.

“She provides these opportunit­ies for our children to experience such sport.

“This was a sport that was developed for disadvanta­ged schools.”

 ?? Picture: SUPPLIED ?? GOLD MEDAL: Israel Tshikala from Nkwanca High School with his gold medal at the U14 national indoor rowing championsh­ips recently
Picture: SUPPLIED GOLD MEDAL: Israel Tshikala from Nkwanca High School with his gold medal at the U14 national indoor rowing championsh­ips recently

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