George Municipality congratulates OCC on Gold Accolade

Executive Mayor for George, Melvin Naik today warmly congratulated the Disabled Road Race Foundation (DRRF) on the Outeniqua Cycle Challenge winning gold at the 2019 Western Cape Premier’s Office Event Pitching Competition.   

The prize includes a R50 000 cash sponsorship as well as a R50 000 media contract with Cape Town

George Municipality has been the host city and main co-sponsor to the OCC for the past 17 years and strives with the organizing committee to grow the competition each year.  “This is truly an event to value, to treasure – a time to value the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship,” said Ald Naik. He thanked all role players on all levels, the DRRF and other sponsors, all involved for the accomplishment.

The OCC founder and former event coordinator for 10 years, Esther Watson, described the OCC as “a pioneering event for previously disadvantaged disabled young athletes, providing an opportunity for all wheelchair-bound persons to take part in a major sporting event that recognises them as athletes with dignity, no matter what their level of participation.   The first race in 2002 had just 27 athletes participating in a half marathon (21km) race down the Outeniqua Mountain Pass into the city of George.

“The OCC is not only a race for world-class wheelchair racers but, more importantly, it presents the ordinary person in a wheelchair with a chance to rediscover long-forgotten abilities and achieve something very special for him or herself,” said Ms. Watson. Sadly, Esther Watson passed away at the end of 2013 after a long illness and was a passionate activist for the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Outeniqua Chair Challenge attracts athletes from all nine provinces as well as from the rest of Africa and abroad.  Thousands of visitors descend on the Garden Route, not only having a significant economic impact (estimated to be in the region of R3 million) but also raising awareness of the needs of disabled persons.  As a result, the Garden Route has become a premier destination for the disabled.

The DRRF assists athletes with costs related to accommodation and transport and caters to participants competing in a wide range of racing chairs and handcycles.  The  2020 Outeniqua Chair Challenge will take place on the 14 and 15 February 2020. 

The Pitching Competition is run annually by the Premier, Alan Winde’s office and forms part of the Western Cape Provincial Government’s event strategy.

The following four criteria are taken into consideration:

  1. The uniqueness,
  2. The social contribution,
  3. The environmental impact, and
  4. The economic impact of the event.

Caption: The GO GEORGE mascots and communication champions contributed hugely to the festive spirit at the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge in September. Here they pose with George Executive Mayor, Alderman Melvin Naik, and popular RSG radio presenter Martelize Brink, whose wheelchair he pushed during the Fun Run. The GO GEORGE “cheerleaders” are, from the left, Amy Bruiners, mascot Slim, Sihle Elefu, Piet Mlocha (GO GEORGE Champions Manager) and mascot Georgie.  

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