Sport can impact positively on youngsters

The following article is from the City Press - 5 November 2017:

Sport can play an important role in the physical and emotional development of youngsters. Panashe Sithole and Sasha Dikotla share the importance of introducing young girls to sport.

Squash has allowed the 17-year-old Sithole to travel overseas when she was part of the South African junior ladies team that competed in Poland in 2016.

“Sport has taught me that in life you win some and you lose some and that I can turn every situation into a lesson.

“Through sport I’ve seen myself and my friends learn to cope in a competitive environment, abide by rules, work as a team and respect others.”

Panashe is ranked number 54 in the world junior ladies rankings.

“I was not disappointed with my performance in Poland, but I lost matches that I could have won.”

The St Mary’s Foundation star joined the school through a scholarship.

“I came to St Mary’s School in June last year. I want to do better and achieve more and go to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.”

St Mary’s Foundation founding member Gillian O’Shaughnessy said both young women were champions in the making.

“These scholarships have afforded the girls the opportunity to not only receive a world-class education but also top-class sport training, allowing them to develop in all aspects of life beyond the impact on physical well-being,” O’Shaughnessy said.

Dikotla started playing hockey when she was in Grade 5. She said she enjoys the sport because it shows her the importance of achieving goals through teamwork.

“Everyone has a chance to contribute something positive to the team for it to achieve its goals.”

The 15-year-old Grade 9 pupil plans to go to the Netherlands in the near future to study sports medicine and continue focusing on hockey.

Dikotla knows sport has given her the confidence to achieve anything she sets her mind to.

“I apply the same principles I’ve learnt in hockey – hard work and dedication – to other aspects of my life.”