The University of Johannesburg men's team will not make the mistake of looking too far ahead when they defend their title in the University Sport South Africa hockey tournament next month. Following the Varsity Hockey competition earlier this year, the country's top student players will now gather in Bloemfontein from July 2 to 6 for the USSA event. UJ won the tournament in thrilling style last year, but a younger team received some hard lessons in Varsity Hockey in May. They will be strengthened by a number of senior players who were unavailable earlier, but UJ Hockey manager Elize le Roux said their focus would be on each match as it happened. "Going into the tournament our sole aim initially will be working towards a top-four placement," she said. "We do feel we have a team capable of making the semifinals because the men will have three senior players back in the mix. "This will add experience and calmness on the field, the sorts of qualities you need to progress in this competition. After the pool fixtures, we will reset our focus." She added that the Varsity Hockey experience had been a learning curve for the young team. "With the seniors back, hopefully our decision-making and ability to create opportunities and to finish them will be areas for improvement. "The USSA tournament is intense in its own right. There are no bonus points to fall back on at USSA and you have to put three points in the bag from day one." Le Roux added that the women's team, who were runners-up last year, would have many players taking part in the USSA week for the first time. "We believe in our processes and feel that a top-four spot is realistic to focus on initially. We will be taking it game by game in our pool matches from Monday to Wednesday and only then worry about the play-offs." While there was a mix of experience and youth, she said teamwork would play a fundamental role in their approach. "The unity of the players will be the key for . . .
The Madibaz team will be aiming to make a big impression at the University Sport South Africa squash tournament this year, with their team having been boosted by the inclusion of a number of key players. The annual week takes place at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth from July 1 to 7 and involves the cream of the country's young student players. A year ago, Madibaz ended fourth in a close finish, with just one point separating them from NWU-Pukke. In turn, Pukke were just a point behind second-placed University of Pretoria. Mandela University coach Jason le Roux acknowledged that the players would be in for a tough week, which includes both individual and team events. "Once the individual tournament is completed the teams are ranked according to how their players did," said Le Roux. "This makes the team event a strength versus strength affair, so there are no easy matches." However, he added that they were looking to finish at least on the podium, and hoped to challenge defending champions University of Johannesburg for the title. Le Roux said they had gained some quality players this year, including John Kuhn, who won the Madibaz Open in May. "Last year we had Gershwin Forbes at No 1, but now he is No 4 [No 1 in the B team]," he said. "We have John Kuhn at one, Brendan Basset at two and Warren Bower at No 3. "In the girls' team, Danielle Shone comes in at three to join Hayley Ward and Bianca Brown, so we have definitely improved in strength. "The players have been working hard in preparing for the week and the fact that we are hosting it has provided extra motivation." He acknowledged that UJ, who include last year's individual champions in Blessing Muhwati and Alexa Pienaar, would be formidable opponents. "But this year our men's team is strong enough to compete with UJ and the girls are capable of holding their own, so it's going to be very interesting," said Le Roux. "The main thing is not to allow any . . .
A number of incentives, including a new junior men's category, will ensure that the Bestmed Jock Classic remains an attractive option for a wide range of cyclists when it takes place in Mpumalanga next month. The race on July 14 covers 155km, divided into three stages, and will take riders along a route from Mbombela to White River and Sabie. The distances for the three legs are 48km, 45km and 62km respectively. ASG Events acting chief executive Fritz Pienaar said they felt the race was the perfect vehicle to keep riders active during the cold winter months. He added that there were several benefits to competing in one of the oldest road races in the country, which compared favourably to similar events on the international stage. "The Jock Classic has some of the most beautiful routes in the country and includes climbs which provide a good idea of what riders can experience in overseas events," said Pienaar. "It's the perfect opportunity for riders to stay in shape during the winter months and takes place on roads which are safe for cycling." Entries for the event close on July 4, but he said there was an incentive for riders to submit their names by June 25. "Those who have entered and paid the entry fee by then will receive a R150 voucher which can be redeemed at any ASG store," he said. "These, for example, can be used to purchase HIGH5 nutritional supplements, which are so valuable during races of this nature." The junior men's category was a new addition to the Jock Classic this year, providing a separate race for the younger riders, said Pienaar. "The difference is that the junior men will start at White River and will only be doing stages two and three. "However, in order for this category to have their own starting batch and commissaire there will have to be at least 30 entrants. "Should there be fewer than 30 participants they will be moved to the open-batch starting time." Pienaar said there was much for the riders . . .
The organisers of the Totalsports Women’s Race are excited to welcome Under Amour as the event’s apparel partner in 2018. “We are ecstatic to partner with Under Armour, a brand that focusses on improving athlete performance through passion, design and the relentless pursuit of innovation,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director Stillwater Sports. “Passion is the driving force behind the Totalsports Women’s Race. The event is an annual Women’s Day celebration that encourages athletes to ‘Run United’ in three major cities (Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town) in support of PinkDrive. We are excited to experience Under Armour’s presence at each event and look forward to hosting a Women’s Day celebration like no other.” According to Lorrianne Cloete, Marketing Manager for Under Armour SA, the Totalsports Women’s Race brings together thousands of strong, fit and healthy women for a great cause. “The Totalsports Women’s Race is a natural fit for Under Armour. Women are a key part of our brand, and empowering athletes is what we stand for. We love that the event offers a platform for Under Armour to connect with this powerful force, celebrate the strength and grit of these inspirational women, while showcasing our equally impressive footwear and apparel. Under Armour is sold through the top Totalsports stores nationwide. It goes without saying that we are proud to team up with an event that boasts with Totalsports as the title sponsor. We will be offering exciting incentives that will enable participants to get our top gear at a great price. We look forward to seeing more women in Under Armour gear at the Totalsports Women’s Race.” Event Information: 2018 Totalsports Women’s Race Dates & Venues: Sunday, 22 July 2018 Durban: Kings Park Athletics Track Thursday, 09 August 2018: Johannesburg: Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown and Cape Town: Grand Parade, Cape Town CBD Entry Fee: 10km licensed runner R120,00 5km R80,00 10km Durban unlicensed runner R140,00 . . .
South African surfing legend Shaun Tomson made a huge impact on young lives when he kicked off his Positive Wave Tour in KwaDukuza on Friday morning. Tomson’s inspiration for the youth comes from his book The Code: The Power of I Will, where he illustrated how they could change their lives in just twelve steps, each beginning with “I will…”. The 1977 World World Surfing Champion and six times winner of the Gunston 500 in Durban, is motivating local schools and organisations through the Positive Wave Tour driven by SMG Rocks & hosted by Coco De Mer as part of the 50th edition of the world’s longest running professional surfing event, the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong. Tomson’s first workshop was hosted in the unlikeliest of places, the Shark Tank, where he inspired the Cell C Sharks to empower themselves through the power of his code “I will”. The Sharks, who have never won a Super Rugby title since the competition’s inception in the nineties,are determined to break their losing streak through implementing Tomson’s twelve-step code. “Your attitude is a fundamental choice,” Tomson told the province’s rugby team. “You need to find the power within yourself to create faith, courage, confidence and determination which will turn hope into action. The ultimate goal of the codeis to create a wave of positive energy that keeps circling the globe, infusing everyone that comes across it with a powerful spark of hope for the future,” he added. Tomson, author of The Code: The Power of “I Will”, thereafter conducted his first school workshop at the Zilungisele Primary School in KwaDukuza, inspiring the youth to believe in themselves and to unlock the power that lies within to shape their future. Like most schools, Zilungisele Primary which has almost 700 learners, is facing a battle with drugs. Tomson advised learners, “Drugs is about choice; making a choice or not making a choice. Drugs make your life worse, and can kill you. Every one of you has the . . .
It was a high stakes contest with some of the country’s best riding talent competing across an international-level course at Shongweni Club from 12 to 17 June. Anne-Marie Esslinger put on a spectacular show in the main title class riding and Alzu Oregon to win the 1.5m Nissan FEI World Cup Qualifier – her third World Cup Qualifier. “It was such a stunning event and it’s always that much better when you win!” said an elated Esslinger, two-time winner of the SA Showjumping Derby and co-owner of Burlington Stables in Gauteng. “The show was very well attended and the 6-bar event was as popular as ever. There was a really just a high standard of riding across the event.” She and Alzu Oregon placed third in the same event last year and took the 2016 World Cup Qualifier at Kyalami Park. Riding Alessio, Esslinger won her first World Cup Qualifier at Kyalami Park the previous year. Esslinger has extensive experience across the equestrian field – she’s an EQASA (Equestrian Qualification Authority of South Africa) Level 3 Coach and an International Coach belonging to IGEQ (International Group of Equestrian Qualification). She is also an F.E.I Level 3 Course Designer and a National Panel Equitation Judge. “This was an incredible six days of quality showjumping and family fun,” said Mike Whitfield, Managing Director of Nissan SA. “We’d like to extend our congratulations to all the winners and competitors who displayed such talent, as well as to the organisers for putting on another successful festival. Nissan is proud to be associated with this high-level event that represents our commitment to community initiatives and sporting activities.” There were a number of competitive events across the six-day competition which forms the third of five elite events that make up the South African leg of the World Cup Jumping qualifiers. These included the 1.15 Filtec Pony Riders Championship and 1.50m Nissan Riders Grand Prix Tour and; the popular Nissan 6-bar event (for . . .
A concerted team effort involving all parties lies behind the Demacon Ladies cycling team's domination of South African road races this year. When SA national road champion Carla Oberholzer surged over the finish line to win the 140km Kremetart event in the Soutpansberg region at the weekend, it marked the 10th road success for the team in 2018. Even though they have a well-balanced outfit, team captain Lynette Burger described their 10 wins from 10 one-day races as "amazing". "We knew we had a strong team, with climbers and sprinters for all types of routes, but these efforts exceeded our expectations," she said. "There is always very good competition and you almost sometimes wonder, ‘when are we going to lose?', but we go into every race with a positive mindset. "We knew we could have a good year, but this is great on a number of levels. "The success helps to keep our sponsors happy and it also means we have set the benchmark, which keeps the pressure on us to maintain a high standard." Playing a significant role is the partnership with HEAD Bikes SA, who have come on board as technical sponsor. The company distributes the world-renowned HEAD bicycle in South Africa and Burger said this had contributed to their success. "Carla has been on her bike for a couple of months and she loves it - the results speak for themselves," said Burger. "The rest of the team received their bikes at the end of April and we are very happy. "It helps our team to look like a unit, making a statement that we are there for business. HEAD Bikes SA has given us a lot of support on and off the bikes." Besides the HEAD Bike SA arrangement, the team have concluded a deal with Positive Sports Solutions to be supplied with Gipiemme wheels this year. The SA company is the sole distributor of the highly-rated Italian brand in southern Africa. "We have each received a set of C32 carbon tubby clincher wheels, which is fantastic," she said. "With the small . . .
The Nissan Winter Classic, which forms the third of five elite events that make up the South African leg of the World Cup Jumping qualifiers, annually attracts international-level showjumping champions. At the 2018 edition, taking place at Shongweni Club from 12 to 17 June, spectators will get to watch incredible skills performed by a number of top riders from across the country. One competitor who will be making the long trek from Port Elizabeth is professional jockey-turned-showjumper, Charles Roberts. “After having a fall as a jockey in 2004, I was unable to continue horseracing and Diane Botes (showjumper, horse dealer and instructor) persuaded me to give showjumping a go,” said the 53-year-old rider. “After riding some thoroughbreds, Diane bought First For Horses Callaho For Ray and the two of us, having started our showjumping careers together, have formed a strong partnership.” Roberts will be riding his beloved First For Horses Callaho For Ray in the 1.20m classes and First For Horses Callaho Valencia in the 1m classes at this year’s Nissan Winter Classic – Roberts’ third time competing in the event. “Ray and I are very competitive,” continued Roberts. “We have ended up tops in the 1.20m combination in South Africa for the last two years. We have very good shows at Revil in Polokwane, as well as the Nissan Easter Festival and Nissan Winter Classic.” Commenting on the latter event, Roberts described it as ‘one of the best shows on the South African calendar’, adding: “It’s very far to travel from Port Elizabeth but I usually have a great show and hope 2018 is also successful. Not only is Shongweni a great venue, but the Nissan Winter Classic is a well-run, exciting show. We love watching the top riders in action as well as the fun events. Grant Langley runs a world class show!” The Nissan Winter Classic welcomes a number of upcoming development riders to the competitive field this year, including Eric Gaza and Jethro Bouwer. “This is my . . .
The SPAR South African singles snooker championship will see the cream of South Africa's players gathering at the Hellenic Hall in Port Elizabeth for the annual event, starting on Sunday. The singles championship, which will see 64 snooker participants vying for the national title, will end on Saturday, culminating in a prize-giving function in the evening. It will be followed by the 6 Reds championship from June 24 to 27. Whereas snooker is played with 15 red balls, the 6 Reds format is played with six red balls and six colour balls. It will have a field of 34 players competing over the four days. South Africa Cue Sports marketing director Cyril Dupouy said the prestigious championships were brought to Nelson Mandela Bay to honour the centenary of the late president's birth. "The Nelson Mandela Bay Snooker and Billiards Association are organising the event and we are looking forward to a week of high-quality snooker," he said. "The tournament will conclude with the semifinals played on Friday and finals being played next Saturday." Dupouy, who is based in Port Elizabeth, said Nelson Mandela Bay star Charl Jonck would have a chance to make a name for himself. "Charl has been making 147 breaks and he is playing like a demon," he said. "Because he is playing in his first national singles championship after a long break he is not seeded. But if anyone can make an impact from PE it will be Charl." The top 64 players in the country were invited to compete in the championship, with substitutes filling in if any of those were unable to play, said Dupouy. "Players like Faris Kahn, Kiashen Moodley, Ricky Tregoning, Pierre Jordan and Mutalieb Allie, who was the African Masters runner-up this year, will be competing for this prestigious title." Nelson Mandela Bay Snooker Association chairman Mark Seymour said they were delighted to be hosting the championships. "We are really grateful to SPAR for stepping in at the last minute to sponsor . . .
Defending champion Alexa Pienaar is ready to handle what could be a pressure-filled week when the University Sport South Africa squash tournament takes place in Port Elizabeth next month. The University of Johannesburg visual arts student will be aiming to retain the individual title, while her team will be chasing a remarkable seventh straight triumph at Nelson Mandela University from July 1 to 6. The 23-year-old won the title for the first time last year after being the 2016 runner-up and knows she will be under pressure from her rivals. "I have managed to do well at USSA every year and it is kind of expected of me to do well again," said Pienaar. "But I am aiming to look past the pressures, both from the outside and from myself, and just play how I know I can. That is what I have prepared for. "I understand the real test will come on the court and I hope it will be enough for me to potentially make the USSA team again, as well as bringing home the individual title." She added there would be plenty of incentive to succeed as student-players would be vying to make the USSA team to compete in the World University Championships in Birmingham, England, in September. Pienaar, who won the Prince Grand Prix at Parkview in Johannesburg and North West Closed tournaments in March, said she had included more solo sessions in her programme this year "as it builds the basis of skills training and helps with confidence in your shots". "I am also trying to include a more aggressive game-plan, getting onto the ball quicker and applying more pressure. "I feel I have physically reached a higher level than I ever have before and it now boils down to being able to assert my skills on court." She felt there would be equal pressure in the team competition after UJ's six title wins in a row, but was confident they could do well again after their intensive preparations. "Everyone in the team has improved from last year and we are stronger than . . .