First started in 2008, the development programme at KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Club, thanks mainly to outstanding support from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation, has in recent times achieved outstanding success.
The programme has introduced the sport to thousands of children from previously disadvantaged communities, while at the same time also teaching them life skills.
The KNCC Development Team’s results have been on an upward spiral, with the age group paddlers especially proving to be among the best in KwaZulu-Natal and the country. The Team has also served their communities with outreach programmes.
With the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation’s holistic support, the lives of the Development Team have been hugely uplifted. Some have travelled abroad to participate in canoeing events, some have received jobs because of it, while others have received support for their tertiary education. All equipment and team-wear is provided too.
The Umpetha Challenge, formerly known as the KNCC Development Race, has become a major success of the Development Programme. Run by the KNCC Development Team, it is an early season Dusi Canoe Marathon qualifier, which was first held in 2012. By the following year, it was recognised as the best one-day race at the annual KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Union Awards. It continues to grow in stature and provides the development paddlers with important skills beyond those needed on the water.
Other generous sponsors have provided team members with opportunities to attend prestigious schools.
In addition, support from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLTDF) has enabled KNCC to provide all paddlers with an excellent gym, which also features times reserved for members of the KNCC Development Team and the High Performance Programme hosted by the club.