Gymnastics club and Wits Sport in USSA tussle

Wits Gymnastics may not be attending the USSA tournament over a demand for a fee of R1500 per gymnast by Wits Sport. Wits Sport has argued the club hasn’t done its part in fundraising and must now step up to the plate.

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HOOLA HOOPING:Senior Wits gymnast Makgotso Tibane showed impressive structure and skills doing her first competition in rhythmic gymnastics in the hoops section early May. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Wits Gymnastics athletes were left disappointed when they learned will not receive funding from Wits Sport to attend the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament this June.

Wits head of sport, Adrian Carter, notified the club’s co-chairperson, Nonkululeko Mdluli earlier this week that the club has not met funding requirements to attend the USSA Gymnastics tournament end of June in Potchefstroom unless each competing member coughed up R1 500. The athletes were only given three days to raise the money.

“We understand that there isn’t a lot of money and that we need to make a contribution, but three days is too short notice for students to pay such a large amount,” said Mdluli.

Carter said the gymnastics club knew since the end of February when they handed in their USSA budget, allegedly late, indicating the direct cost of R2 275 per student, of which each student would contribute R898. “They haven’t paid in their contribution nor did they meet the required fundraising amount,” said Carter.

Mdluli sent an official response on behalf of the club to Carter’s request, stating they have raised R25 656 from registration fees, a welcome braai and yet to be sold T-shirts. According to the response, over a 100 members registration fees brought the club R24 561. However, Carter said it would be unfair to allow the 14 gymnasts who qualified for USSA to use funds intended to benefit the entire club.

The gymnastics club’s USSA budget was R44 400, the club has R54 000 in their reserve account. According to Carter the money budgeted for transport is insufficient and the actual total cost to send 14 gymnasts to USSA would be more than R50 000.00.

“I’m trying to be fair as possible, but I’m not going to give this club R50 000 and leave less than R4 000 in the reserve for next year’s group to struggle,” said Carter.

Mdluli further protested that they were “thrown in the deep end” with Carter’s new financial system and there was no training from Wits Sport on how to approach businesses for sponsorship or how to draft a sponsorship proposal.

But Carter said Wits Gymnastics could have come to him for help at any time.

“Any club could’ve come to me earlier in the year to ask for help with sponsorship issues. Some took the initiative, but the gymnastics club didn’t,” said Carter.

Wits Gymnastics club is now facing cutting the list of members going to USSA or staying home altogether. Carter and the Gymnastics Committee are meeting next week once more to try and find a solution for the club to go to Potchefstroom in just two weeks’ time.

 

Wits Sport keeping budget confidential

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FOOTBALL THRIVING: Lethu Nhlumayo doing drills with Wits U/19 men’s football team on Tuesday afternoon.

Wits Sport are keeping their new strategic budget allocations a secret.

The strategy has been implemented with the start of this year, where Wits Sport has cut-off funding for all but five sport clubs (rugby, football, basketball, hockey and cricket). This has forced other sport and recreational clubs to financially fend for themselves or die out.

The amount of money and its utilisation within these five clubs are “highly confidential”, according to Head of Wits Sport, Adrian Carter.

Carter’s reason for making the budget information privileged is to keep other universities or competitors from finding out “how Wits plans to climb to the top of University Sport.”

“We have needed to come up with a commercial plan to bring in funds on a sustainable basis as, quite frankly, the funds we currently receive are not sufficient for us to compete at any level, never mind Varsity Sport- hence the change in strategy,” said Carter.

Allegedly clubs were told that if they perform better than one of the top five clubs they will get funding back.

“It is a vicious circle. If we don’t get money, then we won’t attract good players and we won’t get recognition,” said third year Medicine student and member of the Wits women’s water polo team, Catherine Bezuidenhout.

Bezuidenhout said they understand that the university can’t cover every club completely, “but we need some sort of assistance.”

Fellow team mate and fourth year Medicine student, Jeanie du Toit, explained that many of her team mates already have student loans and that they can’t afford to pay for kits, transport and accommodation on their own- let alone pay for their coach.

She added that given their academic challenges the new budget decree would now demand they use their own time to fund raise; “We are all studying. Now we must give up time not only to train and work hard to bring attention to our sport, but to raise funds too.”