It will be lights, camera and action for small screen star Hlubi Mboya this weekend - not in front of the cameras, but as a rider in the world's biggest mountain bike stage race. Mboya, best known for her role as Nandipha in the hit soap opera Isidingo, will be riding alongside Bestmed-ASG's Zandile Ndhlovu in the challenging Nedbank sani2c in KwaZulu-Natal from May 15 to 17. Although relatively new to mountain biking, Mboya has proven that she is up for the challenge having already completed this year's Cape Epic. "I only started riding last year, but I've always been active and I love a challenge that pushes me to my limits. "When I was invited to compete in the Epic, I could not turn down the opportunity," said Mboya, who was hooked from the first moment in the saddle. "In a way, the sport echoes life. In mountain biking you have to conquer different terrains and life is about that. "You also have to change gears from time to time, just like you would in everyday life. "Life also dishes up its fair share of steep hills, but, once you are at the top, a beautiful downhill awaits." Mboya and Ndhlovu had an immediate connection after meeting on a training ride last year. So, when Bestmed-ASG team manager Owen Botha started scouting suitable candidates to partner Ndhlovu on multistage events like the Nedbank sani2c, Mboya was a natural choice. "She is such an amazing spirit, with the most infectious laugh," said Ndhlovu, who conquered the 270km race from Underberg to Scottburgh last year. "We always have fun on the bike." Botha, who will be riding support for the two women, has high hopes for them. "Both Zandile and Hlubi are motivated and hard-working individuals and a good fit. I don't expect them to have any problems." Mboya, who has put in eight months of rigorous training for this year's race, is equally positive. "I've spent many hours in the saddle, so I'm ready to race." The 36-year-old actress is no stranger to . . .
The University of Johannesburg is set to fend off the approaching winter cold with hot hockey action when they host the semi-finals and finals of the Varsity Cup men's hockey competition next weekend. "Hockey fans, sport fanatics and families alike will love the vibe. It's going to be fast-paced, action-packed and just all round fun," said UJ sport events manager Niamh Faherty. The competition showcases the best of university hockey with only the top teams participating over three weekends in May. This year's line-up includes UJ, Stellenbosch University (Maties), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU Madibaz), University of Cape Town (UCT), University of the Free State (UFS), University of Pretoria (Tuks), University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and newcomers Rhodes University. Going into the penultimate weekend in Bloemfontein tomorrow, UJ head the log followed by UFS and NMMU. "The standard of competition in this year's tournament is very high," said Faherty. "UJ have gone into it as one of the favourites after winning the Ussa champs last year. "They have been training rigorously with their coach (Gareth Ewing) and we are excited to see the result." UJ hockey manager Elize le Roux said it was a great honour for the university to host the elimination rounds of such a prestigious competition. "It not only showcases us as a tertiary institution and our facilities, but also the most talented young players in the country." She said the host university had produced several top-class players over the years, including current national players Clinton and Brandon Panther and Taylor Dart. Although some of the matches will be televised on SuperSport, Le Roux encouraged fans to make their way to the UJ AstroTurf in Radnor Street, Melville, from May 17 to 19. "It's much better to experience the vibe and to see the action unfold in front of you than to watch it on television," said Faherty. "Johannesburg is rapidly running out of . . .
One lucky amateur rider in next month's RECM Knysna 200 mountain bike race could walk away R30 000 richer - and raise an additional R20 000 for sports development - without even stepping onto the winners' podium, organisers have announced. Race director Patric Mosterd said the three-day Knysna race, which starts on June 6, would offer a lucky draw prize of unit trusts to the abovementioned value, courtesy of the title sponsor. "We introduced this raffle last year and it was incredibly well received," said Mosterd. "This event is specifically aimed at those riders who aren't racing snakes; those of us who have regular jobs and families and can't spend hours on our bikes every day. "While we do have some awesome prizes lined up for the pros, these are the people we want to acknowledge and reward for coming." With an exclusive field of just 350 participants, he said the chances of claiming the unit trusts were great, as only entrants who purchased raffle tickets stood a chance of winning. "That's not bad odds - even if you're not a gambling man." Mosterd said limited places were still available for the 200km race, which offers three days of manageable riding through the magnificent Knysna forests. "Many of these pristine trails are only open to the RECM Knysna 200 riders, specifically because our numbers are so limited, so it really is a one-of-a-kind experience." He said this year's highlight would be the introduction of timed 2km downhill enduro sections on each stage. "These form a race within the race, giving the not so pro riders a gap to feature on the podium." As part of the investment initiative, Mosterd said the Knysna Sport School would receive R20 000 worth of unit trusts, as well as the proceeds from the ticket sales, which cost R200 each. "The school is an incredibly deserving organisation as the work they do with local underprivileged children is unprecedented," said Mosterd. "Obviously, it was their involvement in . . .
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 . . .