| Mthethwa, Cricket SA, SAFA lead condolences to former Olympian Cheryl Roberts

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SA Rugby and Cricket South Africa (CSA) led condolences and tributes for former South African Olympian and women’s sports activist Cheryl Roberts, who passed away on Friday.

News24 Sport confirmed that Roberts died at the age of 60 after a battle with cancer.

Roberts represented Team South Africa at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona in table tennis.

The Minister of Arts, Sports and Culture Nathi Mthethwa released a statement and paid tribute to Roberts, who was “amongst the members of the first National Executive Committee of the National Sports Council – the forerunners of SASCOC”.

“The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture wishes to pay tribute to long-standing sports activist, Cheryl Roberts who passed away,” read Mthethwa’s statement.

“Amongst the accolades she received was being awarded the coveted Andrew Mlangeni Green Jacket, an award that honours the esteemed Rivonia trialist, Andrew Mlangeni who is an embodiment of life-long participation in Sport and being inducted in the gsport Hall of Fame.

“Cheryl’s drive and enthusiasm will be sorely missed. Her family’s loss is shared by many in the sports movement.”

Cricket SA also expressed their sadness of Roberts’ passing and hailed her contribution to cricket and women’s sport.

“The sporting fraternity has lost a colossus of women’s sports in the media, a voice that demanded to be heard and one who staunchly fought for female representation across multiple sporting codes, including the game of cricket,” said CSA Chief Executive Officer, Pholetsi Moseki.

“Her storytelling abilities helped the everyday South African understand the challenges faced by athletes on their journey to on-field success. It is through her unrelenting advocacy that women’s sport is now gaining the traction it deserves. She will be sorely missed.”

CSA Board chairperson, Lawson Naidoo said: “Cheryl’s loss comes at a time when the women’s game has grown exponentially, largely down to the sacrifices and valiant support from champions like her and the generation that laid the platform for the stars of today. 

“On behalf of the Board, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the Roberts family, along with everyone she impacted over her lifetime. May her soul rest in peace.”

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander paid tribute to Roberts through the Springbok team’s Twitter account.

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Cheryl Roberts, a staunch supporter of women’s sport, a champion of equal opportunities, and an activist for women on the SA sporting landscape,” Alexander said.

“May she rest in peace and our thoughts are with her family.”

SAFA President Danny Jordaan extended his heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and sporting fraternity.

“This is such a massive loss. She made a huge contribution. It is a huge loss for sport, as well as women leadership in sport,” said Jordaan.

“One of the things she celebrated was the victory of Banyana Banyana during the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco in July.

“Cheryl was active in SACOS. Our sincerest condolences to the  family, our struggle stalwart for non racialism and equality in sport.

“Her fierce and uncompromising stand for the rights of women in sport was a lifelong commitment. Sport has lost an important voice  and she will be sadly missed.”

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