Off The Wall and All

Andy Scott is Chief Operating Officer of The Sports Trust. Here he takes us on a journey along the development of sports bodies for the disabled.

My my! Hasn’t 2006 started with a flurry? Seems like yesterday I was at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and before I open my eyes it is the beginning of March! As alluded to in my last article, I am happily ensconced as a consultant at Nedbank with a focus on sponsorships and having been the one looking for sponsorship for so many years, it really is an eye opener working for the time being on the other side of the fence.

It is fascinating to see how many approaches for sponsorship a large organisation receives daily. Some are so obscure that you wonder what the writer was thinking; some are so expectant that it seems that the writer is simply waiting for the cheque and some are so ambitious that you would think the proposer was out to buy a small country! Corporate sponsorship in its true sense is about a business decision. It’s about a return on an investment into an area that aligns with a sponsors brand strength and business plan. It is simply not about a corporate sitting with loads of dough to throw at any project that tickles their fancy. In a nut shell, a successful sponsorship should be viewed as a “marriage” and not a “one night stand”. In the case of Nedbank, they have had a long standing relationship with SASAPD and have agreed to continue that program up until 2008 as a support to the preparation of the Paralympic team to participate in 2008. The
Nedbank summer champs are set for early April, good luck to athletes and organisers alike.

To add to their bouquet of sport for the disabled, Nedbank recently agreed to sponsor the SA Disabled Golf Open which is scheduled to be staged at Gracelands in Secunda in May. I attended the media launch which was played in excellent spirits on a very soggy course. The media interest was particularly high and judging by the scores and comments, the open will be spectacular with 30 international entries playing alongside 90 local players. Well done to Eugene Vorster and your organisation and good luck for the event. Congratulations to Krige Schabort for winning the wheelchair section of the Nedbank City Marathon staged in PE in February. Pity there were so few riders. Hopefully the prize pot will entice a stronger field in years to come.

I was privileged to attend the Nedbank Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition banquet staged in Cape Town on the night of Minister Manuel’s budget speech. What an asset this Minister is to our country. He is simply so down to earth in his manner and gave the students entering the competition the floor for so much longer then had been anticipated – hats off to you sir! The evening was superb with many Ministers and captains of industry in attendance, a very memorable event. I was back in Cape Town a week later wearing my Sports Trust cap where we,
together with Sport and Recreation SA, handed over sports equipment to the province for schools in the Western Cape. The handover took place at the Hazeldene Secondary School in Mitchell’s Plain, a very humbling experience to say the least. My highlight was the banter between the young Cape Coloured students whose sense of humour is legendary.

Just prior to the launch, a flustered teacher was trying to herd around 150 students onto a balcony that overlooked a tennis court where the launch was to take place. “Upstairs now you lot” she yelled, “downstairs is for the important people”! Two nine year olds were hovering at the bottom of the stair case and the one piped up “didn’t you hear Mrs Carson, she said we must go upstairs?” came the reply “Theys is steps not stairs”! “It’s the same thing,” said the young informer. “Nay, steps is what you climb, stairs is when you check some one out like this” was the hasty response as the one glared at the other. Long live their humour, what a tonic!

The Super Series Wheelchair Basketball season kicks off in May and I can tell you it will be a humdinger with players still having an opportunity of convincing the selectors of their worth. South Africa will be going to the Gold Cup in Holland in July. I personally think the team is as about as strong as we could have hoped for and will watch the fine tuning with interest – good luck to you all for the Series and the Gold Cup.

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