BABALWA NDLELENI-RAMATLAPO

Win Crossroads, they could surely not have known they were introducing a medalist in thehen the South African Weightlifting Federation visited young Babalwa Ndleleni's schoolmaking to the sport that would eventually see her named South African Sportswoman of the Year in 2006. After taking up the sport at high school and excelling in national competitions,Ndleleni-Ramatlapo took part in her first Commonwealth Games last year, ranked 16th and 22nd in her respective categories. She left Melbourne with a bronze medal, becoming the first black South African woman to win a medal in weightlifting. This achievement, which saw her lifting 78kg in the snatch and 104kg in the clean and jerk, catapulted the Gugulethu nursery school teacher into the limelight. As she strives towards qualification for next year's Olympic Games, she hopes to inspire other women in her area to take up the sport. On her return from the Melbourne Games, Ndleleni-Ramatlapo was awarded a high- performance scholarship programme by the Western Cape minister for cultural affairs and sport.

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