The MEC for Arts, Culture Sport and Recreation, Mrs Bongi Sithole-Moloi believes that investing in sport is much wider than just getting people to play. She says there are many other benefits including improved health, physical and psychological wellbeing as well as social cohesion.
MEC Sithole-Moloi made the remarks at the annual KZN Golden Games, which is a tournament exclusively for persons over the age of 60 held in Durban this week from on Tuesday (06/09) till Thursday (08/09).
“This in turn reduces the burden of demand on health and social services by those of middle and older age, leads to improved productivity, economic regeneration and improved employment opportunities,” said the MEC.
Sithole-Moloi congratulated all the senior citizens who participated in the Games and urged them to encourage their peers to participate in activities that assist them to stay active.
The Games are organised by the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation and the Department of Social Development in collaboration with the other stakeholders such as the KZN Senior Citizens Forum and others. The aim is to promote active ageing.
Senior citizens who had won in their respective district competitions participated in a number sport codes such as football, athletics, indigenous games as well as some activities designed specifically for them to incite physical movement, fun and enjoyment at the same time.
While the games are exclusively for persons 60 years and older, they are played at an amazingly high competitive pace, with senior citizens showcasing their talent and drive to live active lifestyles despite their age.
EThekwini Metro senior citizens once again dominated the competition, as they have also done in many other inter-district contests, taking 1st position.
Neighbours and arch rivals Ilembe District came second, and the southern neighbours Ugu District took the 3rd spot.
The participants were full of praise for the opportunity they were afforded to be part of the games.
“I’d like to thank the Department of Sport and Recreation for organising this event for us as elderly people. It makes us feel appreciated as people,’’ said Mrs Dora Cele from Ugu District. Many senior citizens have highlighted the many health benefits of leading an active lifestyle including a reduced burden of old age diseases.
Other benefits of the Games include affording senior citizens an opportunity to socialise and thereby making a contribution to social cohesion, promote nation building and improve quality of life in general.