Disabled Cape Town surfer receives ministerial recognition award
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Cape Town - A woman from Khayelitsha in Cape Town cannot stop smiling after she received the ministerial recognition of excellence award at the GSports Awards.
Noluthando Makalima, 31, received the honour from South Africa’s deputy minister of sports, arts and culture Nocawe Noncedo Mafu at a ceremony in Johannesburg last week.
The awards which are held annually celebrate athletes excellence in South African sports.
The coach of the national women’s soccer team Banyana Banyana, Desiree Ellis, clinched the coach of the year award.
Adaptive surfer Makalima has cerebral palsy and earlier this year came back to South Africa victorious from the 2020 World Paralympic Championships in Los Angeles in the United States.
Adaptive surfing allows disabled athletes to compete against and alongside able-bodied athletes.
The sport is part of the Olympics and Paralympic Games and was introduced to South Africa’s disabled community in 2011.
In March, Makalima brought home the silver medal from the AS5 Women’s Division event at which athletes from eight other countries competed. She is currently ranked no.2 in the world in her field.
“I got the award because of my season in Los Angeles when I brought a medal home for team South Africa,” she told African News Agency on Tuesday.
“When I found out I would be receiving the award I was so happy. I didn’t believe that I would win an award.”
The single mother who only started surfing a year ago and is already making waves in the sport, said the award made her more determined to continue.
During a nationwide lockdown in response to Covid-19 imposed from March 27, Makalima was unable to hit the waves. With restrictions having been relaxed to allow water sports, she cannot wait to get back.
“During lockdown, it was like something was missing from my life because I could not surf. But believe me, this week I am definitely hitting the waves at Muizenberg beach,” she said.
“Surfing is not only exercise to me, but it helps me relax and eases my mind and body.”
Although she is uncertain when she will next be able to compete, Makalima does not mind; as long as she can ride the waves, she is happy.
Laura Wolvaardt, a batsman for the national female Proteas cricket team, also received a ministerial recognition award at last week’s ceremony.
Wolvaardt also claimed top honours at the Cricket South Africa awards which were held virtually in July, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
African News Agency/ANA