The Mecer Madibaz men's team put on a solid display of attacking hockey to finish second overall at the University Sport South Africa tournament in Pretoria last week. The team from NMMU dropped just one of their three pool games – against favourites UKZN – en route to the final, where they went down 1-3 to defending champions the University of Johannesburg. UJ were unbeaten throughout the five-day Ussa tournament and fielded an experienced team of seasoned campaigners that included Protea players Brendon and Clinton Panther and Taylor Dart. According to Madibaz hockey coach Cheslyn Gie, his men had been determined to reach the playoff rounds after narrowly losing to UJ in the 2012 final and finishing seventh overall last year. "After the Varsity Hockey competition in May, we knew we had the ability to make a semi-final and that was our objective. So we achieved our goal and making the final was a bonus." The Port Elizabeth-based side romped to a 4-0 win over Maties in their opening match before going on to trounce Wits 4-1. Having already qualified on points for the semis, their 1-4 loss to UKZN was merely an unfortunate blot on their record. "In the semi-final, we put Kovsies under pressure with our press and scored early on. After relaxing our grip and allowing them back into the match, we played a more controlled second half to run out 2-0 winners." In the final clash, Gie said the Madibaz had started out strongly and pressed UJ into some unforced errors to take a 1-0 lead. "Unfortunately we made two bad defensive errors that led to bad tackles and UJ was awarded penalty strokes, scoring from both. This put us on the back foot and we had to chase the game." Disaster struck when centre back Devon Clarke retired injured after running down the flick during a penalty corner and fracturing his right thumb in four places. His ability to make tackles and set the tempo for the Madibaz's attacking play was sorely missed. "In the second half . . .
A spirited Bestmed-Shukuma Madibaz cycling team had their rival universities in a spin as they took a convincing win in the team classification at the national student championships at the University of Pretoria on Friday. With the stage times of the top three finishers from each institution added together, the team from Port Elizabeth showed incredible consistency to podium in all five stages. Their combined time of 20:24:17 was more than eight minutes faster than that of defending champions Tuks (20:32:23), with NWU-Pukke placing third in 20:35:51. Madibaz captain Gerrit Nel said he was overwhelmed by his team's success after finishing second at last year's University Sport South Africa (Ussa) event. "We went into the tour with the sole objective to win or, as the team said during preparation, 'bring back the flowers to PE'. We did just that. "It is a team event and our aim was to prove ourselves as the best cycling university out there." The Madibaz also dominated the individual podium, with all-rounder Marinus Prinsloo and sprinter Waldo Gronum claiming second and third respectively. Their teammate Henno Cronjé finished just off the podium in fourth. Nel said Prinsloo, who was third overall last year, had been their strongest contender and that Gronum had also impressed and improved with every stage. The yellow jersey however went to the host institution's Kevin Patten, who rides professionally for Westvaal-BMC. "Kevin is an outstanding sportsman with great sportsmanship and deserved the yellow jersey," said Nel. "He had a strong team to support him through the longer stages. He also delivered superb rides to win the time-trial, hill climb and criterium." Although Tuks had pre-existing route knowledge, a number of pro riders and the largest team in the tour, they could not capitalise on their competitive advantage. On the opening day, the Madibaz went out all guns blazing in the first stage over 76km. Nel and Sean Bos put in . . .
Billabong Madibaz's Jean du Plessis was on the crest of the wave after winning the men's title at the University Sport South Africa surfing competition at Victoria Bay near George recently. The 21-year-old quantity surveying student's performance also helped the Port Elizabeth-based campus to the overall men's crown in the three-day Surfing South Africa sanctioned event, which culminated on June 27. The University of Cape Town's Daniel Wilson and Varsity College's Wade Simkiss made up the rest of the podium. Du Plessis, who grew up in East London and surfed his way to third place at the national championships as an under-16, said he was stoked with the victory. "We enjoyed some big waves, between four and six feet, and, although the competition was quite tight, it all came together for me in the final." Defending women's champion Roxy Giles, from NMMU's George campus, bested Varsity College's Nicole Pallet in the final while UCT's Jessica Lee took third. The Madibaz's success was made even sweeter when Du Plessis, teammate Dane van Greunen and Giles were selected for the Ussa national team that will participate in various international university surfing competitions. NMMU George sport manager Hugo Loubser said he was very proud of the team, especially the men who had reached all of their objectives. "Our PE campus did really well, especially after losing Josh Saunders (the team's number one) very early on. The George men's team have less experience and exceeded our expectations by beating Stellenbosch for fifth." Overall victory across the men's and women's categories went to defending champions UCT with NMMU PE second and Varsity College third. For more information, visit www.sport.nmmu.ac.za or find Madibaz4U on Facebook and Twitter. Author: Coetzee Gouws from Full Stop Communications. More Info link: http://sport.nmmu.ac.za Twitter: https://twitter.com/fullstop Images: For high res version/s of One image/s please contact: Full . . .
Entries are streaming in for Gauteng's oldest – and coldest – off-road race, the Bestmed Walkerville Mountain Bike Classic on July 13. Now in its 17th year, the race promises riders an authentic mountain biking experience that harks back to the early years of the sport, says route director Darren Herbst. "The great thing about this event is that it's almost a 'back to your roots' type of race," says Herbst. "A lot of the routes are old walking paths and cattle trails which we clean up and mould and alter a bit, so it's got that real old-school type of feel to it. "It's all about real mountain biking, not these manicured highways that many other races are creating." He says both the 30km and 60km racing options offer their own authentic challenges, such as negotiating natural bumps, divots and grassy portions. "So there are loose rocks and technical sections to deal with but it's not so technical that the average social rider can't compete." Herbst believes another reason for the race's enduring success is the healthy dose of insanity that participants exhibit. "You've got to be a bit crazy to brave the cold here at this time of year but, on the other hand, you're rewarded with riding some awesome trails across private lands that aren't open to the public at any other time." This year's route crosses more than 15 farms, with some route changes necessitated by ongoing residential development in the area, he says. "A new main road is also being built near the start/finish venue at the Walkerville Showgrounds, so we're currently cutting about 10km of all-new single-track to take riders away from that section." Herbst says riders can look forward to traversing the Eye of Africa, the area's biggest and most exclusive golf and residential estate, as well as spotting wildlife on the Stirrup Club game farm. "I think this event has a bit of everything. Obviously the climbs make it a notch or two more difficult, but it's not too crazy, just . . .
With the 2014 FIFA World Cup in full swing, soccer fever is also running high amongst aspiring soccer stars as the 2014 Spur Masidlale Soccer League wrapped up around the country recently. Teachers, local coaches and players participated in a nine-week series during which ten schools entered their top teams with kids aged between nine and 13 years. Each team comprised seven players with three substitutes. Three points were awarded for a win and two points for a draw, while a loss received zero points. The boys’ and girls’ teams finishing top of the log wins a special Spur lunch and PSL mascot experience. According to Khakhi Diala of the Spur Group, the programme is currently recognised as one of the leading youth soccer development initiatives in the country. “We started with 12 one-day coaching clinics in 2005, but the league has grown steadily and has highlighted the huge need for initiatives that provide a platform for youth development. Although numbers are limited to 200 participants per region, we have managed to drastically improve the level of skills training for both coaches and learners,” says Diala. Diala further emphasised that the most rewarding aspect of this corporate investment initiative was that it gave the group the opportunity to change lives. “Soccer is just the tool we’re using. Our goal is to empower both the coaches and the kids with important life skills, which will equip them to be role models in their communities long after the Spur Masidlale league comes to a close,” states Diala. The life skills training for the coaches was facilitated by Macsteel Maestros Life Skills and specifically targeted areas that will increase players’ self-confidence and self-esteem, while promoting positive behavioural shifts. This will enable players to cope better with matters at home, in their football life, and equip them with better decision-making skills. COACHES TRAINING To ensure quality control and effective mentorship, Spur invested in . . .
The FNB Madibaz will blood their new-look team at the five-day national student rugby championship in Grahamstown next week. The University Sport South Africa tournament will be the first major national test for coach David Maidza's squad following the departure of a number of senior players in the wake of the FNB Varsity Cup competition earlier this season. "We're in the process of building a team that we can use for the future," said Maidza, who joined the NMMU-based team at the beginning of the year. "This is my first year at the Ussa tournament, so I'll be sounding out how strong the competition is and also looking to see how our new players cope at a higher level." The Port Elizabeth side will face off against the country's top seven rugby-playing institutions – including defending champions the University of Johannesburg – in the A-section of the tournament. "All of the teams will be in with a shout. Some of the universities don't send their strongest teams but I''m sure Tukkies, Maties and Pukke will be ones to watch.' The Madibaz are yet to inscribe their name on the trophy after finishing sixth overall last year. They put in a strong showing at this year's Varsity Cup, going down by a single point to NWU-Pukke in the semifinals. The team was forced to regroup in the aftermath of the competition when a number of key players were taken up into various professional outfits. Maidza said his restructured side had had a stop-start local season so far but was confident that the squad would step up and be ready for their first Ussa fixture against the University of Pretoria. "Our Eastern Province Grand Challenge season hasn't gone as smoothly as I had anticipated but, with losing eleven players after Varsity Cup, it was always going to be a tough ask for us." Of the nine matches played to date, the Madibaz have won six, drawn one and lost two. They are currently second in the standings behind log leaders Despatch. He commended new . . .
Eight University of Johannesburg students, club athletes and staff members will be jetting off to Glasgow, Scotland, for this year's Commonwealth Games as part of Team South Africa. UJ's presence at the Games – which takes place from July 23 to August 3 – will be bolstered even further with three alumni sports stars also joining more than 150 of the country's top athletes who will compete in 16 sporting codes. According to the university's coaches and sport managers, the chances are looking good for these sportsmen and women to bring home a few medals. "Looking at our ranking list and the current performances of some of our athletes, UJ stands a good chance of bringing back at least three medals," said senior sport manager Francois Fouché. The athletics team heading to the Commonwealth Games includes 25-year-old transport management student Zarck Visser who will be participating in the long jump event. Visser is currently ranked first in South Africa and Africa, second in the Commonwealth and sixth in the world. He will be joined by fellow transport management student, 24-year-old Ruswahl Samaai, who lies second in the national rankings, fifth in the Commonwealth and 15th worldwide. Olympic silver medallist and UJ club member Godfrey Mokoena rounds out the university's athletics contingent. The 29-year-old triple jumper currently occupies the number one spot nationally and number five in the Commonwealth rankings. Temporary UJ staff member Emmarie Fouché, one of the highest qualified jumps coaches in SA, will join them as the national jumps coach. Emmarie, who said it was an honour to be able to "live out her passion at the highest level", will be playing a vital role during the competition. "The coach has to look after all the jumps participants, making sure they know exactly where and when they need to practice. Then also of course provide help and feedback during the competition." UJ will also be a force to be reckoned with on . . .
Organisers of South Africa's toughest one-day road race are bracing themselves for a last-minute flood of entries, as the July 8 entry deadline for the Bestmed Jock Cycle Classique looms. Race director Wynand de Villiers of ASG Events said Mbombela traffic authorities had granted special permission to open the field for the Mpumalanga race beyond the standard limit of 1 500 participants this year. "The Jock is an iconic event and the response this year has been as good as ever," said De Villiers. "But because there is no cap on entries this year, we are expecting a big uptake in the final week." He said organisers were anticipating at least a thousand additional entrants for this year's race, which takes place on July 19. "If the numbers get close to that, we will close entries to ensure rider safety and guarantee a premium experience for everyone." De Villiers said the 151km three-stage race was aimed at individuals who were looking for a serious challenge. "It represents the toughest day a rider can spend on his road bike. At least three-quarters of the field has ridden the Jock at least once, with some riders having completed as many as 25." For those who felt the distance was just a step too far, he said there would be options to enter only the last two stages (108km) or just the final leg (63km). "The two-stage option is still especially tough, as it includes both the Spitskop climb and the notorious Long Tom Pass." Due to ongoing roadworks, the 32nd edition of the event would once again follow the new out-and-back route from the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit via Sabie and White River, said De Villiers. Historically, the race traced a route from Barberton via Nelspruit and Kaapmuiden, taking in the well-known Boulders and Hilltop climbs. He said returning to the old route would still be a possibility once construction works were complete. "We will send out a survey to riders following this year's race and adhere to the . . .
Skateboarding enthusiasts can expect adrenaline-pumping action when the second Grand Slam of the Kimberley Diamond Cup heads for the Cresta Mall in Gauteng on Saturday, 28 June 2014. The event carries a prize purse of over R50 000, which is guaranteed to attract some of the country’s top individual and team skaters. The action kicks off at 10h30 with the qualifying rounds for the under 16s followed by the over 17 category and the Rider Cup team qualifiers. The first final rounds are due to start from 15h10 and the best trick jam at 17h10 is guaranteed to have the crowds on their feet as the skaters go for broke to land that one insane trick. In addition to the prize money, the Cresta Grand Slam will offer yet another talented street skateboarder a wild card entry into the Kimberley Diamond Cup world skateboarding championships in October this year. The four Grand Slam events together with the Kimberley Diamond Cup world skateboarding championship presented by Kumba Iron Ore are the five biggest skateboarding events in South Africa offering a total prize purse of nearly R6 million this year. One of the top street skaters, who will definitely be in action at the Cresta Grand Slam is 23-year-old Kanya Spani, who won a wild card at the Youth Day Skateboarding for Hope event in Soweto recently. “I was so stoked to get the wild card as that means I’ll get to compete in Kimberley again, which is an incredible experience. It was the best birthday gift ever and there was such a cool vibe in Soweto. The kids were so hyped to get up on skateboards for the very first time – it was really exciting to watch,” mentions Spani. Spani started skating about thirteen years ago in his home town of Port Elizabeth, when his neighbour allowed him to borrow his board. Since then he has moved to Johannesburg and it has become a full-time occupation, even though he is a qualified web developer. “Skateboarding becomes your life and I would definitely recommend it to youngsters. . . .
SPAR Madibaz goal keeper Zanele Vimbela will make her full international debut for the South African senior netball team at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of August. Vimbela follows fellow NMMU stalwart and SA's most-capped player Zanele Mdodana into the national line-up. "I'm really looking forward to it," said the Port Elizabeth-based defender. "It's pretty overwhelming but you've just got to keep training hard for it and that's what I'm doing at the moment." Vimbela first joined the SPAR Proteas for the Fast Five Netball World Series – an abbreviated version of the game – in New Zealand last year and was also part of the invitational team for the Diamond Challenge series against Malawi, Botswana and Zambia in Port Elizabeth. As one of the most experienced players in the side, she will form the backbone of the Madibaz defence for the five-day University Sport South Africa tournament, which starts in Port Elizabeth on Monday. The 25-year-old said there would be a lot of pressure on the hosts to perform well on their home courts. The Madibaz will face strong opposition from the five Super League sides in the top half of the A-section. "It's going to be tough competing against the likes of Kovsies, North-West University and Tuks, who are the defending champions, but we've got the potential to do it." Vimbela, who will complete her post-graduate studies in sociology this year, said her institution would be aiming for a top-four result, and possibly a medal, after finishing sixth in 2013. "The team has been training hard every day. We've brought in a number of youngsters and more variety into our squad, which could work to our advantage. "We have strong centre court players and I believe we also have some very strong defensive players. My role will be to mentor the junior members of the team." She said young shooter Kara Willemse and new addition Eileen van Zyl, who recently transferred from Tshwane University of . . .