Khayelitsha Hockey Club’s chairperson, Gloria Baartman, from Mandalay, says despite the challenges that come with opening a new hockey club in the area, seeing the smiles on the children’s faces inspires her to keep on going.
A former pupil at Langa’s St Louis Primary School and Kensington High School, Baartman, 44, started to play hockey for Langa Hockey Club in 1998.
She a part of Langa’s first girls’ team and represented the Province’s under-21 team in 2001.
Since she started Khayelitsha Hockey Club in 2006, they have developed over six teams from under-9 up until under-19, including an under-19 girls’ team.
Baartman says three of the club’s biggest highlights were when their under-19s got the development team of the year award at the 2013 SA Awards; 22 players from Khayelitsha made the provincial team this year; and Olwethu Mafutha and Chuma Dyasi made the national under-16 and under-18 teams earlier this year.
She strongly believes in giving back to the community and developing young people.
“What inspires me is to see the smile on the children’s faces when they hold a hockey stick and play the game. Making a difference in a child’s life and the community of Khayelitsha is what keeps me going. Staying and playing the game makes me feel better and most importantly, seeing the fruits that are reaped by the players,” she says.
The former athlete, tennis, netball and cricket player says she used to play at least three games a weekend for Kensington High, Langa and CPUT.
“I know it is hard out there for many youngsters at home, school or with friends or in sport. Sport is a tool that moulds, disciplines and give you something that you can always look forward to.
“It can change one’s life for the better and it relaxes one’s mind. It can take you to places you have never been to before.
“In sport you meet people and you make friends who can connect you to better and bigger opportunities. At the club we believe ‘A child in sport is a child out of danger’,” says Baartman.