It was smiles all round at the Canon FSP Inter-Schools Western Cape Golf Tournament at Rondebosch Golf Club in Cape Town on 24 October 2017. The young golfers with varying disabilities got their chance to be part of a real golf competition on a modified course. The Cape regional edition of this nationwide initiative saw learners from six schools participating. These schools were Filia School, Eros School, Thembalethu and Astra School from Western Province; Carpe Diem from Southern Cape, and Eden School from the Boland.
Sponsored by Canon South Africa, the tournament is buoyed by SADGA’s (South African Disabled Golf Association) vision to acknowledge young disabled golfers and inspire them to continue reaching for their dreams. All of the participants are part of SADGA’s First Swing Program, which works to develop skills and inculcate a passion for golf among young school children with disabilities. For many of the children, it was the first time they have competed in a regional competition of this nature.
The First Swing Program team set up a five-hole modified course which the children tackled with gusto. The winning school was Astra School for the disabled from Montana, and the individual player of the day was Ziyaad George from Eros school.
“The looks of sheer joy on the faces of the young players were heartening and infectious. We thoroughly enjoyed the day with these spirited and enthusiastic young people. We are immensely proud of their progress both as aspiring golfers, and as young people.
“We congratulate them on the tremendous show of sportsmanship and passion,” says SADGA’s Lily Reich. The First Swing Program offers a platform which exposes children with disabilities to the game of golf. The primary focus of the program is on rehabilitation and psychological development of disabled children.
The program is operational in 38 schools across the country, with over 750 children benefitting every week. The Canon First Swing Program Inter-Schools Golf Tournaments were initiated in 2016 in Gauteng and the Western Cape, and was this year expanded to Kwa Zulu Natal. Canon has also played an integral role as sponsor of the Deaf Junior Inter-Provincial tournament for the last two years.
“Over the years, we have been privileged to see firsthand the positive impact of the Program on the rehabilitation and psychological development of young people with disabilities. Their spirit, character and confidence simply flourish. This is why Canon has chosen to support the Program for many years,” says Dana Eitzen of Canon SA.