Using sports to give back to the community

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a hard year for many and has put on-hold many people’s livelihood. When it comes to sport, the coronavirus crisis placed sport stars around the world in limbo – with many athletes now left wondering when they would be able to perform on the biggest stage of all again.

While many stars took this time to relax and take it easy, Under Armour Elite Athlete Sibusiso Madikizela, took this time to make a difference in the lives of his community of Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

Being a professional athlete who holds a Marathon time of just 2 hours 21 minutes and successfully competed in the European Circuit in 2017, Madikizela joined forces with Under Armour South Africa to host what was known as a Legends and Leaners Morning. Hosted at the Khayelitsha running stadium, the training grounds for many in his community.

“I can’t change the world, although I’d like to. But I can make a difference where I stay. Where we’re from, there is nothing else, we run because we must, we run to survive.”

“I always see people struggling in sport, from our community and abroad. I thought to myself I am so lucky I’ve got great people and brands behind me; I need to do something for those athletes who have nothing,” says Madikizela.

Handing over food parcels in Khayelitsha. Picture: Supplied

In an ode to his community and in support of fellow runners, Sibs invited three of his closest friends: Xolani Ramabitle, Akhona Makila and Siphiwe Tefo to receive full running gear top to toe as well as food parcels for their entire family, while inviting young school runners to listen and learn.

Each athlete was treated to a snack breakfast and the opportunity to hear from some of the great coaches in industry, with the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about their run form and methods that would improve chances of success.

“Where we come from, there’s nothing else to do there. I don’t know how to explain it but it’s the only thing that makes sense, that keeps me alive,” says Tefu.

Madikizela’s sporting career came with top class coaches which he brought to his township to help and share tips with his community.

Armie Gruhn, Athletics Coach says, “the relationship between a coach and a runner is such an important thing. The relationship needs to be built on trust and understanding. The athlete has to really commit to the coach, but the coach needs to fully grasp what particular aspects the individual athlete has, whether it be a strength or a weakness.

If I leave you with one thing, it’s that athletic performance over time results from the consistent controlled application of moderate stimulus over a lengthy period of time. Make it count!”

Madikizela and Under Armour’s initiative comes at a time where people need acts of kindness to bring hope to communities who need it the most.