NMMU hockey star Ignatius Malgraff is jetting off to the Netherlands in just over a week after being selected for the national senior World Cup team on Friday. The first-year mechanical engineering student is one of only two juniors included in the South African side that will be up against the best in the world in The Hague from May 31 to June 15. "This is definitely the highlight of my hockey career," said the East London-born striker. "It is such an honour to represent my country on the world stage and to play alongside such experienced players." Malgraff was one of 30 hopefuls who participated in a rigorous selection camp at St Alban's College in Pretoria recently. "Last week each of us received a personal call from the coach informing us about our selection, but we had to keep the news to ourselves until it was released to the media on Friday. "I was ecstatic when I received the good news. "And, to top it all off, I am one of only two juniors (the other being Dylan Swanepoel from the Western Cape) to have made the team." Malgraff and the rest of his team-mates will not be wasting any time and will be attending an intense two-day training session in Gauteng from May 18, two days before they leave for the Netherlands. The South Africans will have their work cut out for them as they have two of the world's best teams - Germany and the Netherlands - in their pool. "It is going to be tough, but we have many experienced players and Olympians in our team," said Malgraff. Although the Madibaz player is one of the youngest in the squad, he is definitely not lacking in the experience department. He started playing while at St John's Road Primary and continued throughout high school at Hudson Park High. He first received SA colours as an under-16 player in 2009 and made his debut for the senior side at the FIH Champions Challenge in Argentina two years ago. Last year, Malgraff was selected for the under-21 team that competed in the . . .
Oxbow Xerox has shown their commitment to this unique grass roots development programme and has adopted their forth school in the Tag Rugby® Adopt a School programme in the Western Cape. Sophakama Primary School, based in Dunoon township received ‘Tag in a bag’ equipment and their first coaching lessons this morning by skilled Tag Rugby® coaches, supported by enthusiastic Oxbow Xerox staff. This is the fourth school out of six in Oxbow Xerox’s CSI initiative. The other schools already on the programme are Levana, Zilreda and Capricorn Primary Schools. These schools are all now part of the National SARU Grassroots Development programme that will give the schools the opportunity to play in Tag Rugby® leagues and to enter tournaments run by the Tag Rugby® Association. “With the Tag Rugby® Adopt a School Programme, we are attempting to get children off the streets and away from the ills they are confronted with on a daily basis to enjoy sport with other children”, enthused Stuart MC Connell, Executive Director of the Tag Rugby® Association. Brett Furlong, Managing Director of Oxbow Xerox commented, “Making a difference in the community through improving the quality of children's lives is our social responsibility focus this year. Tag Rugby® is a reputable association this allows Oxbow the opportunity to make a direct contribution to local schools by making a difference and dedicating valuable time of our people to a worthy cause. Oxbow is making a difference because we want to be part of the positive future in the Western Cape and we encourage other corporates to adopt more schools through the Tag Rugby® Adopt a School programme". By using Tag Rugby® (which requires no infrastructure and rugby experience) the learners in under-privileged areas with no facilities enjoy the feeling of playing sport and having fun with their peers. Tag Rugby® can be played by boys and girls and there is no contact in Tag Rugby®, so the fear of injury is removed from the . . .
More than 4 350 mountain bikers will be part of the festivities when the world's biggest stage race, the Nedbank sani2c, celebrates its 10th anniversary in KwaZulu-Natal next week. Organiser Glen Haw said online entries for this year's event, which follows a 270km route from Underberg to Scottburgh, had once again sold out in a matter of seconds. "Our final preparations have now been made and we're looking forward to welcoming old friends and new participants back for another year of thrills," said Haw. "Farmer Glen", as Haw is affectionately known, founded the three-day event in 2005 (with just 247 two-person teams) as a fundraiser for his children's school. Since then, the number of participants has doubled every two years, with the 2014 edition set to host 725 teams in each of its trio of races. "When I started the event, I never ever imagined that it would grow this big," said Haw. "Logistically speaking, it has now reached maximum capacity, so we've capped the number of entries to ensure that every rider still enjoys a premium experience." He said special number boards would be awarded to the 18 members of the exclusive Black Mamba Club who had completed all 10 events. For the anniversary edition, Haw said the rest of the field could look forward to more great riding and a number of upgrades to the race villages. "This year, each race village will include 'The Barn', where people can gather to celebrate our birthday with a cup of tea and our famous banana bread and more." He said community volunteers baked more than 12 000 loaves of banana bread annually to feed the riders. The community involvement aspect was certainly the standout achievement over the past decade, with more than R20 million raised for schools and organisations along the route, said Haw. "There has been a tremendous buy-in from the locals and the rural communities have benefited greatly from their partnership with the race." In addition to the direct . . .
In a traditional game of golf, the object is to hit the least number of shots to complete an 18-hole course. However, in long drive, the objective is simply to hit the ball as far as possible, keeping the ball within bounds. While hitting a ball far is relatively important in the traditional format, in long drive it is paramount. In a sport where precision and power reign supreme, this June the country’s top long drivers will tee up against each other to see who will win the grand prize of R50 000, the title of South African Champion and an entry into the RE/MAX World Long Drive competition in Mesquite, Nevada, to be held in September this year. “The RE/MAX Long Drive competition has become a firm favourite on many golfing enthusiast’s calendars because the format of the game is simple and packed full of action. The object of the game is to drive the ball as far as possible within the bounds of a grid – it’s about power and perfect timing. Each golfer is given six balls to drive, with only the longest drive counting towards the next round. Balls that are hit off the grid are not measured. Unlike the traditional golf setting, long drive competitors are allowed to play a song of their choice while at the tee box, which also adds to the atmosphere and spirit of the event,” says Adrian Goslett, CEO of Southern Africa. RE/MAX of Southern Africa has been involved with the World Long Drive event since it was brought to this country from the US in 1998. Goslett adds that the event has grown over the years, with more and more competitors signing up each year. “As interest in the sport grows we have seen the competition get much tougher. Currently the South African long drive record is 469.9 metres, which was hit by Nico Grobbelaar in 2012. Competitors know that if they want to take home the prize money, they have to bring their ‘A’ game on the day,” says Goslett. “The distances that these golfing strongmen can achieve with just six golf balls at each attempt are . . .
The Port Elizabeth based, Algoa Bay Yacht Club sails it's annual prestige regatta - ABYC Week - annually before the close of the sailing season. Traditionally the regatta has been one that offers mixed sailing conditions, keen competition and loads of laughs. In this year's regatta it was the idyllic windless conditions over four days that had the most laughs, though. Held over four days from 1 to 4 May 2014, the 'racing' was frustrating for sailors used to high winds and seat of your pants, hold on for survival racing. For the first time in living memory not one race sailed during ABYC Week was sailed over the full courses set. Of the six started races, Race Officer Ronnie Baer was forced to abandon two and shorten the course sailed of the remaining four. To compound frustration for the sailors even more the first race saw only one finisher - Jellybaby (Andrew Ward) - as the rest of the competitors failed to complete the course within 20 minutes of Jellybaby finishing, despite many of them being as close as 200 metres behind. With only two races sailed in the first three days of the regatta, sailors anxiously eyed the weather for the last day of the regatta, Sunday 4 May. A mixed bag of forecasts saw some sailors reefing down and preparing for an expected 12 midday forecast of "30 knots west, gusting 39 knots" whilst others defied the weather gods and sailed out of the Port Elizabeth harbour with full sails and light weather gear. Difficulties with a swinging wind led to a number of 180 degree course changes before the first race got underway at 10:16 am in a steady North West of 9 knots - a positive gale compared to the previous 3 days. The fleet managed to complete one sausage only to have the race shortened on the first reach of the triangle as the wind died. The fleets started the second race of the day at 11:15 and, once again the race had to be shortened ahead of a massive 180 degree wind shift to the east. Fleet 2 finished their course on a . . .
The Comrades Marathon happening on the 1st June 2014 is the world's oldest and largest ultra-marathon run over a distance of approximately 90 km between the capital of the KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa, Pietermaritzburg, and the coastal city of Durban. This year, the marathon starts in Pietermaritzburg and ends in Durban, a ‘down-run.’ Nedbank has been a proud major co-sponsor of the "world's ultimate human race" since 2002 bringing fun and flair to the only official spectator point along the route in a grand, enormously entertaining, eco-friendly Green Mile, which is situated along Kloof’s Old Main Road approximately 26 km from the finish line, called the #NedbankGreenMile, a major event in itself. This magnificent ‘green’ community spectator zone is this year themed “Rock & Roll” and is free to all supporters, and is set to create an electrifying atmosphere for over a mile in length producing an important uplifting boost to runners who will have already run a gruelling 62 km at this point. Runners passing through the #NedbankGreenMile can look forward to receiving the first Green Energade available on race day plus live performances from some of Durban’s hottest bands and DJs. Add to this photographers, dancers, Sharks Rugby cheerleaders, drum majorettes, a Scottish Bag Pipe Band, a Steel Drum Band and a Marimba Band – all from Durban and surrounding areas - and the #NedbankGreenMile looks set to be a celebration of everything local! The #NedbankGreenMile caters for the whole family on race day. Kids and the young at heart will delight in an action-packed Kids Fun Zone where entertainment includes face painting, balloon artists and jumping castles, plus much more. Here they’ll also get to meet their favourite Super Heroes. Runner’s supporters will also be able to keep up with the race action from the large grandstand, which will be home to a large screen TV airing live footage and race commentary throughout the day. Staying true to . . .
Fortune smiled on Johann Rabie and Gawie Combrinck as they rode safely into Scottburgh to claim their maiden win in the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast on Saturday. The EAI Cycling duo sprinted across the floating bridge on the Scottburgh lagoon to complete their 880km journey from Heidelberg on the outskirts of Johannesburg to the sea in 33:36:41. They finished three minutes clear of overnight leaders Waylon Woolcock and Darren Lill, who took the runner-up spot for Cannondale-Blend in 33:39:45. Max Knox and Kevin Evans of FedGroup-Itec outsprinted Rabie and Combrinck by a single second to win the final stage in 2:48:04, in the process securing third place in the overall standings in 34:45:27. Third on the stage belonged to Louis-Bresler Knipe and Craig Boyes of Contego, who came home in 2:55:48 to secure fourth overall in 35:26:47. South Africa's longest fully serviced stage race was largely characterised by a ding-dong battle between EAI Cycling and Cannondale-Blend, with the teams claiming three and four stage wins respectively. While both pairs were alternately plagued by mechanical issues, it was Woolcock and Lill whose title hopes deflated when they suffered a serious blow-out 20km from the finish on the 84km final stage. Forced to stop for repairs, the Cannondale-Blend riders saw their overall lead of more than six minutes ebb away. They fought back to finish sixth on the stage in 2:57:51 to fall one place in the general classification. "I think it's a bit unlucky for them but yesterday we had our bad luck again with two flats and a cracked rim," said Rabie, who made his joBerg2c debut. "That's the thing with mountain biking, it's never over till it's over - not even in the last 20km of a nine-day stage race." Woolcock, the 2012 champion, said he and Lill were extremely disappointed with the result. "We came here to win; not to finish second. The stage wins were nice but we . . .
A sea of blue swept down Marine Drive on Saturday morning as thousands of women, proudly wearing their official race T-shirts, braved the cool morning air to participate in the 21st SPAR Women's Challenge in Port Elizabeth. And, as has become tradition, several men also lined up on the starting line donning flamboyant outfits rounded off with glitzy accessories including brightly coloured wigs, feather boas and even stilettos. "Waking up to more than 14 000 beautiful women on a Saturday morning in Port Elizabeth is quite impressive," quipped Pasella presenter, race emcee and event eye candy Paul Rothmann. "But I'm going to need some therapy thanks to some of the guys I've seen this morning." South African sports heroes - including former Springbok captain Corne Krige and ex Bafana Bafana defender Mark Fish - also dropped in to motivate the runners. Retired Proteas bowler Makhaya Ntini strutted his stuff in a purple dress and blonde wig in support. By the time the race got underway, the cool morning air had made way for sunny skies which suited the elite runners, including winner Diana-Lebo Phalula who set a personal best time of 32:27 over the scenic 10km course. "The race was so nice and the weather was great," said Phalula, who won the Cape Town leg of the six-event SPAR Grand Prix Series last month. Having won in PE in 2011, she said it held a special place in her heart. "I don't like PE, I love PE. I always run well here. The weather is great and so is the route." Eleven-time champion René Kalmer crossed the line a minute down in 33:27 with Mapaseka Makhanya completing the podium in 33:28. While the SPAR Women's Challenge attracts South Africa's elite athletes, the 10km and 5km events are synonymous with social runners of all shapes and sizes. Having taken part 12 times over the years, 76-year-old Rasheeda Abrahams is an avid supporter. "I walk for life, to keep fit and to have fun." For friends Melanie van Rensburg and . . .
The racing took a dramatic turn on day eight of the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c as Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock surged into the overall lead on the 99km stage from Ixopo to Highflats in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday. The Umkomaas River Valley descent proved to be a watershed moment in the race, as leaders Johann Rabie and Gawie Combrinck saw their hopes of victory punctured on the penultimate stage. Cannondale-Blend's Woolcock and Lill took advantage of their rivals' mechanical setbacks to forge ahead and claim the stage win - and the overall lead - in 3:45:34 (30:41:54). The EAI Cycling duo, who had started the day with a comfortable five-and-a-half-minute margin, followed a distant second in 3:57:48 (30:48:36). Contego's Louis-Bresler Knipe and Craig Boyes finished third on the day in 4:01:32 (32:30:59) but it was not enough to knock fifth-placed Knox and Evans off the podium in 4:08:41 (31:57:23). The reversal of fortunes means that Rabie and Combrinck now trail Woolcock and Lill by 6 minutes 42 seconds going into the final showdown en route to Scottburgh. Shortly after the start at MacKenzie Club, FedGroup-Itec was the first team to hit bad luck when Max Knox dropped his chain within the first 5km. The main contenders continued to jostle for position, with Knipe and Boyes entering the single-track first for the descent into the valley. Lill said he and Woolcock had made the right move in positioning themselves behind the Contego pair. "Louis comes from a downhill background and his descending is excellent, so we just followed them down the descent." Rabie was on Lill's wheel, with Woolcock applying pressure from behind, when the EAI riders both hit a rock and punctured. Rabie also damaged his rim in the process, forcing them to stop for repairs. By the time the riders emerged at the first waterpoint on the valley floor, 38km into the race, Cannondale-Blend and Contego had put more than eight minutes into the EAI pair. "Coming . . .
Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock outsprinted race leaders Gawie Combrinck and Johann Rabie to level the scoring at three stage wins apiece on day seven of the Old Mutual joBerg2c on Thursday. The Cannondale-Blend duo powered into the finish at MacKenzie Club near Ixopo in KwaZulu-Natal in 2:54:48, six seconds clear of the EAI Cycling frontrunners. Third-placed Kevin Evans and Max Knox of FedGroup-Itec staged a fightback on the 81km route from Underberg. Their time of 2:55:21 saw them return to a podium position in the general classification. Although Woolcock and Lill clocked a record stage time, it was not enough to dent Combrinck and Rabie's overall lead, which now stands at a respectable five minutes and 32 seconds. EAI Cycling tops the general classification in 26:50:48, followed by Cannondale-Blend in 26:56:20 and FedGroup-Itec in 27:48:42. Evans and Knox signalled their intent when they went out all guns blazing on the speedy seventh stage of the nine-day mountain bike race. They pulled hard on the front, leading Cannondale-Blend and EAI Cycling into the Oak Lane dual single-track and across the PG Bison floating bridge at Mossbank Dam. "FedGroup-Itec set quite a hectic tempo from start to finish," said Woolcock, who won the event in 2012. "We were quite happy for them to do all the work today. They would never have won the stage with the way they paced all day." The top three teams stayed together through both waterpoints and the pine plantations that characterised most of the route. "I put my nose on the front once and Darren once, not because we wanted to, but because we just seemed to get a better line through the single-track," said Woolcock. With Evans and Knox faltering a little on Tiny's Climb, the final drag into MacKenzie Club, it was up to Woolcock and Lill to bring it home. "Both Darren and I seem to have a bit of a kick over the other guys in the sprints, so it suited us to take it to the line." He said . . .