MARCH 2006
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The 2005 Murray & Roberts Jack Cheetham Memorial Award was presented to the Women’s High Performance Artistic Gymnastics Organisation (Giants Gymnastics)


In partnership with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and Sowetan newspaper, Murray & Roberts selected Giants Gymnastics in recognition of the excellence and inspirational leadership in its development programme and the substantial contribution it makes to gymnastics in South Africa. Giants Gymnastics is endorsed by the South African Gymnastics Federation, an affiliate of SASCOC.

Left to right: Sean Flanagan Arianne Milton, Sydney Matlhaku, Melissa Pietersen, Moss Moshishi, Bryan Habana and Connie Esau
Left to right: Sean Flanagan Arianne Milton,
Sydney Matlhaku, Melissa Pietersen, Moss
Moshishi, Bryan Habana and Connie Esau

The Jack Cheetham Memorial Award was initiated 24 years ago in recognition of the special qualities of Jack Cheetham, a former Murray & Roberts director and the inspirational captain of the South African cricket team in the 1950s, who was able to instill in young people the belief that they could win. In recent years, the award has targeted sports development projects, focusing on individuals or teams that have the potential to be champions.

Giants gymnastics identifies and develops talented young female gymnasts from previously disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape. It has already contributed significantly to the development of gymnastics in the province and produced some of the top women gymnasts in South Africa. Through its talent identification programme, the project is currently nurturing a number of talented gymnasts as contenders for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The programme’s “first the child, then the sport” approach to development,instills a real sense of self-worth in each participant, even if she does not excel as a gymnast. Once their competitive careers have ended, gymnasts are encouraged to remain involved with the sport by becoming coaches, mentors, judges or administrators, thereby ensuring sustainability.

Left to right: Bryan Habana, Cheryl Thomas
Left to right: Bryan Habana, Cheryl Thomas
and Brian Overmeyer

“Giants Gymnastics has a proven track record of delivery, not only in achieving excellence in the sport of gymnastics but also in using gymnastics as a vehicle to transform the lives of many young women in South Africa. With additional resources, we believe that the programme will have an even greater impact,” says Sean Flanagan, executive director of Murray & Roberts and convener of the panel of judges.

Under the dedicated leadership of Arianne Milton, the programme conducts high performance training in two small halls in Kuils River, identifies talent in the communities of Kuils River, Mitchells Plain and Manenberg and supports three community clubs which offer recreational classes and training for coaches. Leading South African gymnasts such as Melissa Pietersen, Simone Snyders, Tamaryn Schultz and Celeste Visagie are all products of the programme and have competed successfully in international events since 2000.

The award, which includes a floating trophy and prize money of R150 000 for the winner, was presented by Springbok rugby star, Bryan Habana. The prize money will support future plans to modify one of the small gymnasiums into a suitable high performance training centre and expand the talent identification programme into other areas.


The Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving swimming development project was selected as the runner-up and awarded prize money of R50 000. The project was initiated to improve the general level of swimming and water safety in the Fish Hoek valley. In an environment where drowning remains second only to car accidents as the highest cause of death of South African children, the project was initiated by a local teacher for previously disadvantaged members of the community. It has made a significant contribution to the sport of lifesaving and promotes involvement in the volunteer movement and employment opportunities in professional lifesaving.

The project’s “each one, teach one” Learn to Swim campaign has a multiplier effect and ensures sustainability as educators, parents and community workers at local schools are taught to swim and encouraged to teach children in their care.