CSRC Making History

with Inclusive Sports

CSRC Making History with Inclusive Sports

Kirsten Steenkamp

March 2021

On 12 February the Chaeli Sports and Recreation Club commemorated it’s 11th birthday! Though the Covid-19 pandemic severely restricted sports activities this past year, our adaptive athletes are gearing up for a more active 2021! Join us in honouring some of the CSRC’s most historical moments.

When South Africa hosted the Soccer World Cup in 2010 there was a deepening realisation in The Chaeli Campaign ranks that the practice of sports for individuals with disabilities needed expansion.

From a young age children with disabilities learn that participating in sport, even as a hobby, is difficult to pursue with facilities that do not accommodate them and practical issues like transport creating a huge challenge, particularly for wheelchair users.

Despite physical impairments all people share the fundamental need to be included in a team, have fun with friends, and enjoy some healthy competition. For people with disabilities evidence also supports that doing sports is highly beneficial. Excellent for improving mobility, circulation, pain relief, body awareness, and self-esteem, sports boosts overall physical and mental health.

The Chaeli Campaign had always run a sports programme that focused on inclusion and ability awareness and in 2010 realised inclusive sports for adaptive athletes needed its own focus, resulting in the founding of the Chaeli Sports and Recreation Club (CSRC) as a separate NPO.

The CSRC’s primary focus is inclusive sports and this organisation has become a forerunner in challenging policy and changing perceptions about inclusive sport. In February the CSRC celebrates 11 years of work and invites you to learn about how it is helping to make sports more inclusive in South Africa through its three focus codes: Cycling, Road Running and Inclusive Ballroom/Latin American dancing.

The aim is to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy sport with the bodies they have and the mission is inclusion. All forms of adaptability are encouraged in dance, road running and cycling. Inclusion is essential: promoting disabled and non-disabled individuals to enjoy sports together. Significantly, for those who require the assistance of non-disabled athletes to participate, inclusion is a precondition to gain entry.


In 2013 the cycling programme pioneered 3 of the first 4 buggy teams to participate in the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Every year the number of buggy teams grew with the Pedal Power Association coming on board to support the purchase of additional hand cycles and buggies for Chaeli riders! Today this special stand-alone category includes multiple hand cyclists, buggy teams, and inclusive tandem teams.


The CSRC opened its inclusive Ballroom and Latin American dance studio in 2011 which is still the only independent dance studio in South Africa to offer dance sport for the disabled as its core focus. With inclusion remaining central, dancers with various impairments (including people with intellectual, visual and hearing impairments and wheelchair users) enjoy dancing with one another and non-disabled dancers. Inclusion at work – hope in motion.


The CSRC successfully petitioned national dance bodies to include disability dance sports sections at provincial and national championships, still a feature today.


In 2015 four of the CSRC dancers – the only dancers from Africa – proudly represented SA at the annual Wheelchair Dancing Holland Dans Spektakel in the Netherlands. Chaeli Mycroft, Damian Michaels, Chantelle le Roux and Mukhtar Lee proudly competed and returned home with double gold in their respective categories in the amateur class!

Chaeli Mycroft being dipped by her partner, Damian Michaels

From local levels all the way to international championships, wheelchair dancing has been instrumental in improving the lives of CSRC dancers: socially, mentally, and physically. Next the focus turned to Chaeli road runners and affiliating the CSRC with the WP Athletics Association.


In 2016 the CSRC made history after months of robust engagement with the Comrades Marathon Association and various relevant sporting stakeholders to accept Chaeli Mycroft and Anita Engelbrecht and their pilot runners as competitors in the 2016 Comrades Marathon. They became the first assisted adaptive athletes in history to compete and finish this epic, gruelling ultra marathon.

The historic moment Chaeli Mycroft and her pilot runners,
James Chevallier and Brett Glen, crossed the Comrades finish line

In 2018, largely as a result of the CSRC advocacy, Athletics South Africa (ASA) affirmed its commitment to inclusive sports by updating the Road Running section of the ASA Rule Book, confirming that wheelchair athletes (both assisted and self-propelled) have the right to compete in any local, provincial and national road running events.

ASA has further encouraged event organisers to promote a welcoming and inclusive environment for adaptive athletes, with a special section in the on supporting the inclusion of wheelchair athletes.

Using wheelchair dance as the primary driving sport for Outreach and Training, the CSRC conducts workshops at places like Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre. Empowering disabled people to reclaim their
bodies, these workshops educate and renew confidence. Wheelchair users learn to have fun in the bodies they have on any particular day and use their abilities to the full.

Training extends to coaching non-disabled dancers from various dance studios and organisations, as well as therapists and teachers from schools for people with disabilities. School systems are an excellent and sustainable way to develop Inclusive Dancesport as the usual challenges of transport and finding a venue and dance partners is nullified.

The CSRC advocates for differently-abled people to embrace a full and active life using sport as a vehicle for inclusion. For their work in promoting adaptive sports around South Africa, the CSRC most notably won the Letsema Award in 2011 and the Western Cape DCAS (Sport) Community Builder of the Year in 2017.

The year Chaeli Mycroft won gold at the Dancing World Cup, she also became the first female quadriplegic to summit Mt Kilimanjaro. It was 2015, that the UCT student Chaeli Mycroft was honoured with the Chairman’s Award at the UCT Sports Awards. And at this prize ceremony is where Chaeli again met Mpumelelo Mhlongo.

Mpumi is a South African Paralympian and the only UCT student to have received five consecutive UCT Sportsperson of the Year awards. Mpumi spreads his vision for a more inclusive world, committing his platform to advocate for disability and social justice. 

Mpumi and Chaeli, partners in activism

Sharing the belief that finding solutions and adding value to others’ lives is significant, it is a meeting of kindred spirits that Mpumi is now Patron of the Chaeli Sports and Recreation Club.

Together, the goal is to create a sporting community that recognises and promotes sport as a vehicle for inclusion by recognising that we are all somewhere on the ability spectrum, and with some assistance and/or intervention we can all find a place in the wonderful world of inclusive sports.

Displaying outstanding talent, discipline, and an exceptional drive, we wish Mpumi the best of luck representing South Africa at the Paralympics in Tokyo later this year.

Web Site: www.ChaeliSports.co.za

Instagram: @ChaeliSports

Email: info@ChaeliSports.co.za

To promote and provide sports and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities in an inclusive social and sporting environment.

Contact

Tel: 

021 7623835

Email: 

info@chaelisports.co.za

Physical address:

16 Culm Road,
Plumstead
Cape Town
7800

Bank Details

The Chaeli Sports & Recreation Club

First National Bank

Plumstead (201109)

Account No: 6228 0277 437

Legal Status:

NPO Registration No: 078-277 NPO

PBO Registration No: 930037322

Follow Us

Visit the Chaeli Campaign

To promote and provide sports and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities in an inclusive social and sporting environment.

Contact

Tel: 

021 7623835

Email: 

info@chaelisports.co.za

Physical address:

16 Culm Road,
Plumstead
Cape Town
7800

Bank Details

The Chaeli Sports & Recreation Club

First National Bank

Plumstead (201109)

Account No: 6228 0277 437

Legal Status:

NPO Registration No: 078-277 NPO

PBO Registration No: 930037322

Follow Us

Visit the Chaeli Campaign

To promote and provide sports and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities in an inclusive social and sporting environment.

Contact

Tel: 

021 7623835

Email: 

info@chaelisports.co.za

Physical address:

16 Culm Road,
Plumstead
Cape Town
7800

Bank Details

The Chaeli Sports & Recreation Club

First National Bank

Plumstead (201109)

Account No: 6228 0277 437

Legal Status:

NPO Registration No: 078-277 NPO

PBO Registration No: 930037322

Follow Us

Visit the Chaeli Campaign

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