SUSPI launches new brand
The importance of the Stellenbosch University Sport Performance Institute’s (SUSPI) contribution towards the realization of the country’s sporting goals was emphasized at its rebranding celebration in Stellenbosch last night (31 May 2011).
Prof Russel Botman, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the Stellenbosch, welcomed guests at the dinner and said: “SUSPI is a reservoir of expertise in sport. It offers world-class facilities to top athletes, and has achieved considerable success with several national and international athletes and teams.
As such, SUSPI is an excellent example of Stellenbosch University’s science-for-society approach. It acts as a gateway through which we can apply specialist knowledge generated through cutting-edge research in sports science.”
Me Gugu Ntuli, CEO of SUSPI, sketched a picture of the sporting landscape in the year 2041. She described a South Africa where all communities and schools have well equipt sports facilities, coaches and support as well as well designed sports programmes for athletes and the country is taking the lead in disabled sports. Womens participation in sport is at an all time high and more and more wome are managing sports.
“This is not a fantasy. It may sound unreachable, but we are a young company and we relish a challenge. We believe that we are now ready to make an even more significant contribution towards South African sport as a whole. But we cannot do it alone. We need partners in government, private sector, community – anybody who believes in the power of sport.
“Up to this point we have worked extensively with a number of national athletes and teams such as the Springbok Sevens team, national women’s football team and some of South Africa’s top athletes within disability sport. However, we believe that the time is now right to increase this sphere of influence to include additional aspects of national interest such as promoting transformation, capacity building and fostering social cohesion,” she says.
A key programme where some of these aspects are already being addressed is the Youth Sport Initiative – a project which is being driven by SUSPI, and which forms part of Stellenbosch University’s overall Hope Project aimed at positioning the institution as a beacon of hope locally, regionally and nationally. Football forms the mainstay of the Youth Sport Initiative, and the project comprises a newly constructed football centre, an after-school programme, as well as a proposed football academy. The central aim of the project is the promotion of physical, scholastic and psychological wellbeing of youth in the region, particularly those from disadvantaged communities.
Prof Paul Singh, Chief Director of Client Services at Sport and Recreation South Africa, applauded the the University for initiatives such as the Youth Sports Initiative and for work done with regards to the preparation of national teams, coaching and expertise in the area of disabled sports as well as the support given to upcoming sport stars such as the swimmer Heerden Herman.
“The importance of science in sport cannot be over emphasized. The ultra-competitive arena of sport is driven by science and technology and for South Africa to remain competitive, it is necessary for us to tweak our performance through science. It is therefore that institutes such as SUSPI has a critical role to play in the realization of South Africa’s sporting goals
Prof Julian Smith, Vice-Rector: Community Interaction and Personnel at the University thanked the guests for attending and said: “Sport is a strategic priority at Stellenbosch University, and there is no doubting the important role which SUSPI has to play with regards to delivering some of our key institutional objectives. We regard die University in general and sport in particular as a big asset to the town that can make a big contribution to the sustainability of the town. We are confident that SUSPI, drawing upon the rich knowledge and infrastructure of Stellenbosch University sport, is well positioned to support the new vision for sport in the country – not only in terms of development, but also in terms of competitiveness within the global sphere.”