For the past three years, the Kimberley Diamond Cup skateboarding world championships presented by Kumba Iron Ore has not only firmly established South Africa as an active member of the world-wide skateboarding community, but it has also created a platform for local skaters to enter the global skateboarding arena.
In October each year, the Kimberley Diamond Cup attracts the world’s top professional skateboarders to the incredible Kumba Skate Plaza in Kimberley, the capital city of the Northern Cape Province. A record number of street and vert skaters from 37 countries competed in 2014 for the largest purse and the most coveted title in skateboarding.
The global media profile created by the Kimberley Diamond Cup has provided over 1 billion media impressions worldwide in 2014 and is broadcast to 173 countries. Besides showcasing the broad spectrum of tourism offerings in the Northern Cape, it aids profile building for local skaters, which enables them to attract sponsors and invitations to international skateboarding contests.
South African top skateboarders such as Moses Adams, Jean-Marc Johannes, Dlamini Dlamini and Khule Ngubane to name a few have recently been invited to show off their skills on tours in the US and other countries. This year South African skateboarders have even been invited to participate in other international events. 21-year-old Ngubane is quick to acknowledge the impact of the Kimberley Diamond Cup in his rise to skateboarding success.
“It has definitely helped me financially as the various contests taking place throughout the year create more opportunities. KDC hosts regular events around the country, so you’re putting in more effort into your skating. You need to up your skills and the vibe is also more competitive. I love the fact that it has made skateboarding a household sport in South Africa. It has definitely become more socially acceptable and people are beginning to realise that skateboarding is creating a positive lifestyle for us youth.”
According to Tim McFerran of World Skateboarding Grand Prix, there has been an explosive growth in skateboarding in South Africa since their initial involvement. “When we first touched ground in South Africa skateboarding was pretty obscure with very little activity in Kimberley and no place to skate. Even in cities like Cape Town it was very underground and was not allowed on the streets,” says McFerran.
McFerran further stated that in a bid to activate local youth, the Northern Cape in partnership with the WSGP has unlocked skateboarding on a national basis providing thousands of youth a positive activity to occupy their time in an environment where participation in team sports is decreasing and individual sports like skateboarding are on the rise.
The Kimberley Diamond Cup is also credited for extensive youth development programmes for young and upcoming skateboarders. Funded by the Northern Cape Government and sponsors such as Kumba Iron Ore, and in partnership with a leading globally recognized skateboarding event organizer WSGP, the Kimberley Diamond Cup is making the world class skate park in Kimberley – Kumba Skate Plaza – accessible to all. This is the only sports facility in the world with coaches on hand to assist and mentor anyone that show up – free of charge. To date, more than 120 210 people have visited the skate park.
Development initiatives such as the Skateboarding for Hope national tour presented by VANS travels throughout the country to introduce skateboarding as a sport to local youth and to identify budding skating talent. Stopping in 15 cities, the one day stops throughout South Africa have touched the lives of more than 48 490 fans and participants. Since the programme started in 2011, Skateboarding for Hope has donated more than 5 000 skateboards, 1 000 pairs of shoes and over 10 000 T-shirts to underprivileged youth. In addition, the year-long build-up to the world championships features Grand Slam regional qualifiers in Cape Town, Kimberley, Johannesburg and Durban with the opportunity of gaining a wild card entry into the Kimberley Diamond Cup.
According to the Northern Cape Government their investment in the Kumba Skate Plaza in Kimberly as the platform to host the skateboarding world championship is paying dividends. Skateboarding is flourishing locally with youth from all over South Africa as well as neighbouring countries visiting the skate park in Kimberley. The competition and its associated contests have also created opportunities to adopt skateboarding as a career for many local skateboarders, while Skateboarding for Hope contests create the opportunity for skaters to hone their craft and win good prize money.
Author: Christel Liebenberg from Peridot Communications.
More Info link: http://www.kimberleydiamondcup.com
Twitter: KDiamondCup #kdcskate
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Kumba Skate Plaza is accessible to all with free access and coaching. Photo: Martin Kotze
To date, more than 120 210 people have visited the skate park. Photo: Martin Kotze