Young disabled athlete dies at sport department camp

MEC Mathabo Leeto. Photo: South Africa Today

A young athlete died after he drowned while taking part in a O.R. Tambo Games camp last week. The twenty-year-old disability football athlete was swimming before he drowned and died in Ventersburg on Thursday night.

The annual O.R. Tambo Games are organised by the Free State Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation with the finals taking place in Welkom last weekend. MEC Mathabo Leeto expressed her condolences to the athlete’s family after the tragic occurrence. “It is quite saddening that we lose such a young life at the time when we are celebrating youthfulness through these games. I extend my deepest condolences to the family of this young person and hope that they find solace in the fact that he passed on while engaged in the sporting tournament dedicated to the stalwart of our liberation struggle, comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo. He will forever be remembered and kept in our prayers,” said Leeto.

Department spokesperson Tankiso Zola, stated that the incident happened while the athletes were swimming during their leisure time. Participants in the different kinds of sport are aged between 18 to 25.

The tournament brings together athletes from different sporting codes such as volleyball, basketball, and netball as well as disability soccer every year. “The games include young people who participate in sport at the community level or as part of various sports clubs. Therefore they were selected from different sport activities in the local and district level,” explained Zola.

Zola stated that representatives of the department would be in attendance at the young man’s funeral. Bloemfontein Courant does not have the name of the athlete at this point in time. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele