KZN Champ in Zululand

Natal Duathlon Champion for 2008: 10km run, 40km cycle and 5km run.

Ngwelezane’s John Ntuli takes Gold at the Natal Duathlon Champs held at Midmar Dam on Sunday, 18 May 2008.

John, riding for Team I.O.P (Izulu Orphan Projects), and Chadd would like to thank all those who have helped make this happen. a big thank-you must go to Power Spar as our main sponsor for this event and Zululand Sports Centre for their assistance with John’s gear.

Sunday morning was misty and cold at Midmar Dam, from the start it was clear that John was in a class of his won. After the first 2.5kms he was off and by the time it came to getting on the bike, he had opened a large gap on the second athlete. The road was wet but that didn’t stop John going flat out. By the time he went out on the second run, he had a lead that had the race secured unless disaster struck, which it didn’t. He finished 1st in the 25-29 age group and 1st overall, winning himself R500.

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Chosen for the Natal Team, he must now prepare for S.A Champs in Bloemfontein on the 28th of June. Hopefully his equipment holds out in which case, I.O.P and John are confident he will make the S.A team, which will be travelling to Italy in September later this year.

I.O.P, who is managing John at this stage, is on a mission to get him to Worlds in September. John has been competing in Zululand and KZN for eight years now and has never been sponsored. It saddens Chadd from I.O.P that at this stage in South Africa, a young exceptionally talented black athlete who is a world-class competitor has never had a real sponsor.

Zululand, we need to help this young man achieve in the world arena so Zululand may be in on his glory. We hear so much about development, before we can start developing kids, we need to help the talented athletes achieve results and get to all the relevant events on the right equipment. Then we would have produced a hero and can start real development. Kids need to learn about setting goals and what it takes to achieve them. John is at this level now; hopefully when his time is over in the competitive field, we can use him to develop. But for now we need to make him a hero, someone the kids can look up to and respect. We need to feel achievement and have the glory so he may have passion for whatever the future holds for him and the kids who have goals like him.

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Zululand, this is going to cost us, we make an urgent appeal for support to come from home before we approach the corporate Head Offices in Johannesburg and Pretoria. For any information, please contact Chadd through www.izuluorphanprojects.co.za.

From I.O.P, well done John Ntuli. You are a great ambassador to our organisation and Zululand. We are extremely proud of you, racing not only for yourself but for all the orphans left behind from HIV/Aids, hold on tight and never lose sight of your dreams.

Great fun was the outcome of the day when our little orphan boys were treated to a fun training afternoon held by the Zululand Rugby Academy. Attending rural schools these kids are given no opportunity to progress in any sport other than soccer. They thoroughly enjoyed every minute of their introduction to the sport and they showed no lack of enthusiasm when it came to tackling.

A huge "THANK YOU" to the Zululand Rugby Academy for hosting our orphan boys and to Caltex John Ross for sponsoring their lunch for the afternoon.

We are so pleased to finally have our Support Centre roof up. Not only does it shelter us from the rain but, from the scorching Zululand sun as well.The centre hosted at least 200 orphans and caregivers on completion of the roof at our church service. Our orphans, along with their caregivers were ecstatic to be housed under a sheltered structure after walking approximately 15 kilometres in the scorching sun to attend church.

This centre is where we intend to Educate, Encourage and Love each and every one of our orphans.We would like to say a great "THANK YOU" to our sponsors that have made this Support Centre possible.