A new driving force led to an inspired team effort by Margate Saints SMG Lifesaving Club when they hosted the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Championships at St Michael’s beach at the weekend.
Margate Saints welcomed Winklespruit, Amanzimtoti, Warnerdoone, Fast Track, Scottburgh to their shores for the two-day competition, in which junior and seniors competed on Saturday and nippers were set to compete on Sunday.
Locals tested themselves against their visitors in water events such as surf ski paddling, surf swimming and Taplin Relay in trying conditions.
However, surf conditions deteriorated to the point that all water events where cancelled for Sunday, which saw participants compete in events such as long run, flags and beach sprint relays.
The hosts scooped 10 medals and an overall aggregate of 96 points, earning them a credible fourth place.
Siyabulela Mkhize and Aphiwe Mbhele were Margate Saints’ shining stars. Mkhize won the club’s only gold medal, in surf ski, and added a silver in R/S/R, while Mbhele raked in four medals – silver in R/S/R and beach run and bronze in board rescue and surf swim.
Prince Nkonyeni (beach run) won silver in beach run with Sbu Shinga (R/S/R), Njabulo Ngeleka (beach run) and Mcebisi Zweni (beach run) all bagging bronze in their respective events.
An elated Margate Saints chairman Leon Garbade said, “Well done competitors. It’s a huge achievement and a huge re-entry to the competitive arena.”
Hosting the competition, Garbade said, was the culmination of two years of hard work in getting the South Coast club back on track, highlighted by the announcement of a new partnership between SMG South Coast and the club.
“The club would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Darren Staats and Mrs Merle Seaton of SMG for the generous sponsorship,” he said.
“The overriding vision of this partnership is to provide our youth with a healthy pursuit and a positive conduit in witch to channel their energies. SMG South Coast, through the leadership of Mr. Staats and his team, has been promoting a healthy lifestyle for a while and it is this synergy that has led him, SMG and Margate Saints to this partnership.”
Staats said of the partnership, “We need to keep our youth fit and on the coast, by providing the club with the necessary funding and resources, we can guarantee the sustainability of this long revered lifesaving club and by doing this, the club in turn, can provide our youth with a potential career path.”
Garbade concluded, “We’d also like to thank Ray Nkonyeni Municipality [Mr Anton Botha], Hibiscus Medevac Ambulance Services – [Glen Preston], Sasol Margate [Allister Edwards], Wolf Security [Grant Maher] and the KZN Sharks Board [Wayne Harrison] who assisted in making this competition a reality and a huge thanks to all our supporters and proud members.”
Photo: Margate Saints members (from left) Njabulo Ngeleka, Aphiwe Mbhele, Prince Nkonyeni, Siyabulela Mkhize, Innocent Ncane, Sbu Shinga and Mcebisi Zweni.