A sporting chance for SA's young cricketers


File: JP Duminy of South Africa during the International Test Series 2016/17 match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on 12 January 2017.

CAPE TOWN - Resources and opportunities in sport are scarce for the people of Mitchell’s Plain and Strandfontein in Cape Town.

Proteas player JP Duminy started his JP21 Project in 2014 in a bid to change this in the area from where he originates.

Today marks Freedom Day in South Africa. Over the past weekend, young boys and girls of the JP21 Project enjoyed the freedom of Newlands Cricket Ground as their season was brought to a close.

Duminy was present and shared his thoughts on the project.

“Exceptionally proud -- I think that’s the word’s that come to mind," he said.

"This is my first time that I’ve actually participated in it. April-month is always one where I am away in India, so it was great to be a part of it, and just to see these kids having so much fun."

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Thirty-five schools in the Mitchell’s Plain and Strandfontein area are involved in the project.

An oft-time problem in getting kids to take part in extra-mural activities at schools is the hurdle of also getting teachers involved. But at these schools, teachers have proven to be an exception rather than the rule.

'We’ve got 50 teachers that have got their level 1 mini-cricket coaching course, 20 teachers that have completed their level 1 hard ball cricket course, so everybody is playing their part," Duminy said, "and that is what is going to make the JP21 Project a success.”

Three children have received their Western Province colours since being part of JP21, and the Project Team is encouraged to expand its footprint.

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“Our main aim is to try and get every school on-board, every primary school ... and then taking it into high schools," Duminy said.

“When we started it was never about the accolades, it was about getting kids active. It’s about showing these kids that you have different opportunities in life."

It’s not every day that one gets to experience bowling or batting on this historic Newlands Cricket Ground.

There is no doubt future Cobras and possibly Proteas players will arise from these children, thanks to the opportunities they've been afforded.

* Get the full story from Justin Ford's video report, in the gallery above.

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