South Africa’s top mountain bikers will launch the second half of their season at the 15th annual Kia Walkerville Classic, presented by ASG, on Sunday. In the absence of last year’s winner Max Knox and runner-up Philip Buys, whose respective European and Olympics commitments will see them on the sidelines, Gauteng’s biggest race is set to crown a new champion. Brandon Stewart of FedGroup-Itec Connect, third in his maiden outing last year, is set to spearhead the list of favourites, which also includes former Old Mutual joBerg2c champions Neil MacDonald and Waylon Woolcock of RE:CM. “It’s definitely an important race for us,” said former national cross-country champion Stewart. “Organisers are expecting 1 500 riders, which is a fantastic turnout for a winter event.” He said the title sponsor was also his team transport partner and therefore a win was key for the team. “Last year, I was recovering from illness and it was the first time I’d done it. Now that I know the course, I should fare better.” Stewart said the 60km route, which is punctuated by three climbs, was relatively fast and flat, with good single-track sections, and he expected “tight and close” racing. He said the lead bunch would probably separate from the field on the initial 3km climb up Platberg, which is just seven kilometres into the race. “You’ve just got to give it all you’ve got on that first climb.” He did not foresee any of the favourites attempting to get away there. “With another 40-odd kilometres to go, it is extremely unlikely.” The 31-year-old from Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal said the chances of a breakaway on the gradual Wattle Alley ascent, midway through the race, were also slim. “If you’re out on your own, it’s easy for the bunch to haul you back.” Stewart said the main contenders would, in all likelihood, leave their main assault for the final 1.5km uphill drag to the finish at the Walkerville Showgrounds. “If you’re still strong there you can make it really . . .
After its great success last year, The Herald Urban Run will return this Tourism Month – once again drawing runners and adventurers from all around to participate in the ‘urbanathlon’ – taking them on a journey through some of the city’s urban sights and attractions while raising money for charity. “Events like the urban race are what our city thrives on. The race shows off several of our inner-city attractions – exposing tourists to a part of our city that abounds with history, art and heritage,” said Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) CEO, Mandlakazi Skefile. The event, which had its first ‘run’ last year, expects to see hundreds of athletes from around the Eastern Cape descend on Nelson Mandela Bay again this year. The city footrace starts and finishes at the iconic Donkin Reserve, also known as the ‘beacon of the bay’ takes place September 16th. It takes competitors through the Central Business District (CBD) of the city along with part of the heritage trail Route 67 and includes iconic sights such as Fort Frederick. Nelson Mandela Bay’s CBD has become one of the front runners in respect of urban renewal, this race calls for tourists and locals to bear witness to the urban transformation for themselves. “The 10.5km urban obstacle race is for social fun runners who are looking for something a little different,” said event organizer, Michael Zoetmulder. “By its very nature, an Urban Run is a multi-disciplinary, city foot race with the emphasis squarely on having fun. Urban obstacles are designed in such a way as to get the social runner sweating and smiling while taking in the city’s surrounds” The race, established last year by local sports events company, Zports, raised R40 000 last year and is hoping to increase that to R100 000 this year. Businesses along the route are encouraged to become involved and lend their support to the event. Organisers say Port Elizabeth has set the benchmark for urban runs in South Africa and September’s event . . .
The second round of the Investec Night Relay took place on Thursday evening with records tumbling in 3 of the 4 categories. Held at North End Lake in near perfect conditions given the time of year, the race provided the fastest times in the history of this Business Night Relay Series. Leading the charge was the Gamble Pharmacy team breaking their previous course record in the Men's Relay division by just under 2 minutes to record a very fast 1hr 7min 33sec over the 21km distance. The all ladies team Merrell from Medicus Shoes shattered the previous ladies record held by the Rhino Group finishing in a time of 1hr 31min 39sec whilst the mixed running team from naming Sponsors Investec broke the Mixed category record by almost 10 minutes to record a time of 1hr 17min 45sec. Thursday's event was used to create awareness for the ACVV's Kamvalethu Centre which is the only drop-in centre for street children in Nelson Mandela Bay. Situated in Korsten the centre focuses on empowering the children and their families, getting them off the streets and providing the children with food, clothing and the opportunity to wash themselves and their clothing. Participants and friends of the Investec Night Relay Series brought donations for the centre on the evening. The Series still has two more race nights on the last Thursday evening of August and September. Full results from round 2 are available on www.investecnightrelay.co.za with pictures appearing on the Series facebook page. Online entries for Round 3 are possible on the Series website. More Info: http://www.investecnightrelay.co.za Author: Michael Zoetmulder from Zports . Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. No of Images Uploaded: Two To gain access to Two image/s please Like, Tweet or +1 this article: [l2g] Images: Antonio Seconds finishes strongly for Gamble Pharmacy Photographer: Sport Action Photography Start on Thursday evening Photographer: Sport Action Photography [/l2g] . . .
The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium precinct will once again be alive with activity on Thursday evening as over 100 business teams take part in the second round of the Investec Night Relay. The event, hosted by the Mandela Bay Development Agency, starts at 6pm from Lakeside and will see walking and running teams tackling the 4.2km laps around the Stadium and North End Lake. Round 2 of the Investec Night Relay series will be creating awareness of the ACVV Kamvalethu Street Work Programme which is the only drop-in centre for street children in Nelson Mandela Bay and is situated just around the corner from the Stadium in Korsten. The centre focuses on empowering the children and their families, getting them off the streets and providing the children with food, clothing and the opportunity to wash themselves and their clothing. On the evening local businesses are urged to support the centre through the donation of food, clothing, toiletries or services. Representatives from the centre will be present at the event to answer any questions which the participating companies may have. All teams will receive a complimentary team photograph with the winners receiving medals and floating trophies. There will be great prizes up for grabs including an iPod Nano, MTN cell phone, jewellery from Havilah and a DSTV drifta from Digicom. The event will start at 18:00 with the lucky draw prizes giving taking place at 20:30. Late entries are accepted at North End Lake from 4pm on Thursday. See www.investecnightrelay.co.za for further information. More Info: http://www.investecnightrelay.co.za Author: Michael Zoetmulder from Zports CC. Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. No of Images Uploaded: One To gain access to One image/s please Like, Tweet or +1 this article: [l2g] Images: Walkers set off around the North End Lake Photographer: Sport Action Photography [/l2g] . . .
Participants in this year’s sani2c, which was presented by BoE Private Clients, will have the first bite at the cherry when entries for the 2013 edition open at noon on Monday, July 2. Organiser Glen Haw said the initial online entry procedure for the largest paired mountain bike stage race in the world would not be the rush-based method implemented for the most recent edition. He said successful applicants would have until the end of the month to enter and pay in full, at which time their entry would be confirmed. “If a team decides to split, they will lose their slot and the remaining member will be placed on the waiting list,” said Haw. “Should there still be entries available on August 1, they will be offered to those on the waiting list. Thereafter entries will open to the public.” He said they would be strictly applying the cut-off of 650 teams for each of the three events (Race, Adventure and Trail), which means not everyone who rode this year is guaranteed an entry. “Unfortunately, we have to be very strict. Over the years we have found this to be the magic number. “Anything more puts us under pressure, especially in the race villages.” The three-day, 250km race through southern KwaZulu-Natal gets underway with the Trail in Underberg on May 14. The Adventure departs on May 15 and the Race the following day. Haw said an estimated 380 riders had completed every sani2c since its inception in 2005. Having started with just 492 participants, the event has grown incrementally with the addition of the Adventure in 2008 and the Trail in 2012. He said the latest incarnation had proved to be very successful. “The three events went extremely well and things generally ran smoothly. “The few problems we had were caused by excessive numbers. Solving this is simple – we just need to learn to say we are full and not be influenced by riders desperate to get into the event.” Despite a waiting list of over 5 000 for this year’s race, Haw . . .
Former South African hockey player and University of Johannesburg sports manager Anton van Rooyen finally realised his Olympic dream when he was selected to manage the national men’s team for the London Games in August. Van Rooyen’s appointment sets the seal on a long and distinguished management career that most recently included seeing his team to overall victory in the Olympic qualifying tournament in Japan in May. “They had to win that specific tournament, no less than that, and they did.” He has previously accompanied the side to the Commonwealth Games, Champions Challenge, World Cup as well as the Four Nations and Five Nations tournaments. “This is my reward for all my years of playing hard and the time and effort I gave to development,” he said. “It’s the cherry on the cake in my passion for hockey.” The 51-year-old former centre half, who boasts provincial colours for Free State and Griqualand West, has been involved with the sport for over three decades. In 1988, he was a member of the national hockey squad. As team manager, Van Rooyen is expected to deal with all administrative issues prior to and during the Olympics and act as liaison for players and management. He said patience, self-discipline and being a good listener were essential qualities, as well as “loving what you do”. “On tour, I’m in charge of general discipline and looking after the players. A happy player will always perform to his maximum ability.” Van Rooyen said “The Lads”, as he calls them, had matured together as a unit since 2008. “We started to build on this group after the last Olympics. Only three members are veterans of the last Games.” According to him, the team was in good shape following a fitness camp in Bloemfontein earlier this month, but he was circumspect about their medal prospects. “We must first get through our group stage. If we make the top two in the group, anything can happen.” The team leaves for an eight-test tour of Ireland . . .
Having lost to the EP Kings on Tuesday, a green South African Students side will be hoping for a better defensive effort when they take on Namibia in a one-off international rugby test in Windhoek on Saturday. Led by the University of Johannesburg’s Justin Wheeler, the newly assembled SA squad went down 36-19 in their warm-up match in Port Elizabeth. “We put up a solid attacking performance and just need to work a bit more on our defence,” said Wheeler. “They led 14-12 at half-time and it was quite close with 10 minutes to go. Then they got that last-minute try, which made the score-line seem more convincing. “We only had three practice sessions as a unit, but tried to implement some of the basics. I wouldn’t say we were happy with the outcome of the match, but we’ve taken something positive from it.” Wheeler said he felt they had fared particularly well up front against very physical opposition. The 24-year-old loose forward said he expected the second-ranked African side to play a more similar style of rugby to theirs. “I believe they’ll also be looking to play the ball wide. I think it will be a good match and spectators can expect to see running, attractive rugby.” Wheeler, who has turned out for the Lions in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby, said they were confident of getting the win if they could capitalise on every opportunity that came their way. “The guys will be playing their hearts out. Even though we’re a student side, we still have the Springbok on our chest, so we’ll be representing our country and doing our best.” The Transport Economics student said he was looking forward to coming up against fellow UJ players Worsie Kotze and Chrysander Engelbrecht. “They both played for Namibia in the last World Cup, so I’m looking forward to playing against them, knowing what tricks they have up their sleeves.” Team manager Michael “Moby” Dick, who is also from UJ, said South Africa’s northern neighbours were not to be taken . . .
The University of Johannesburg confirmed its position as one of the most important feeder institutions for Olympic talent when the national squad for London was announced last week. Of the 112 athletes selected, student hockey stars Pietie Coetzee and Bernadette Coston lead a strong UJ contingent that also comprises 13 alumni and club members across four sporting codes. Coetzee – who increased her world record goal tally to 241 in the bronze medal match against Germany at this past weekend’s Investec London Cup – and Coston are joined by Beijing Olympians Lisa-Marie Deetlefs and Marsha Marescia in the women’s hockey team. Men’s hockey players Thornton McDade and Erasmus Pieterse, who both represented South Africa four years ago, have again received the nod alongside debutant Lance Louw. Amanda Dlamini, who captains Banyana Banyana, will enjoy the company of Kylie-Ann Louw, Noko Matlou and Marry Ntsweng. Also on the list are athletes Irvette van Blerk and René Kalmer, both of whom will be making their marathon debut. Rounding out the UJ-affiliated athletes in the South African team are rowers Naydene Smith and Lawrence Ndlovu, who are participating in the women’s coxless pairs and men’s lightweight fours respectively. Micheen Thornycroft will represent Zimbabwe on the water. UJ staffer Anton van Rooyen will accompany the men’s hockey team as manager while 2008 Olympian Adrian Carolan is the video analyst for the women’s side. According to director of sport Sanpat Coetzee the university had already equalled its 2008 tally of 18 individuals and was looking forward to the announcement of the Paralympic team where five athletes had met the qualifying criteria. “The fact that students, alumni, club members and staff are represented proves that UJ Sport develops athletes and student-athletes for South African sport.” Coetzee said the institution was proud of its contribution at a national level. “Professor Cora Burnett’s research, done . . .
Rising hockey stars will have a final chance to impress national selectors ahead of September’s Junior World Cup qualifier when they meet at the national student hockey champs at the University of Johannesburg next month. The University Sport South Africa (USSA) championships will see teams from 19 tertiary institutions, as well as a Namibian invitational side, compete for honours in the two premier divisions from July 1 to 7. The A-section sides will do battle on the UJ Astroturf while the B-section teams lock horns at the Kaspersky Randburg Astro. UJ Hockey manager Elize le Roux said the university was looking forward to hosting one of the sport’s biggest annual events. “It’s always an honour. It provides a great platform on which students can come and compete.” She said it was one of the final opportunities for players to get noticed before the qualifying tournament for the world cup, which takes place in India in February, 2013. Le Roux said avid supporters could expect to see top-class hockey with the likes of national U/21 women’s team members Nika Nel, Jenna du Preez and Kaila Flemming turning out for the home side. She said players like UJ striker Lloyd Nicholson and link Gerald Mpopo would be contenders to earn a spot in the junior mens’ team following the USSA tournament. According to Le Roux, the university had a strong hockey tradition and was hoping for another podium finish. Last year, the men’s side finished runners-up while the women placed third. The latter will however be without the services of the world’s leading goal-scorer Pietie Coetzee and Bernadette Coston who are part of the senior national team for the London Olympic Games in August. Former UJ hockey stars Marsha Marescia, Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Lance Louw, Erasmus Pieterse and Thornton McDade have also been included in the Olympic squad, which was announced last week. University staff member Anton van Rooyen will accompany the men’s team as manager, while . . .
Apart from the obvious brain freeze that leads to you entering the Absa Cape Epic, this race is all about making smart choices. The first thing to get right is to select the correct partner. One who knows when to keep quiet is a good start. After that, a multitude of decisions – like nutrition, gear and prep – riddle the long, winding and often rocky road to the starting line of the Epic. But, once you have registered and collected all of the sponsors’ promo items from the Waterfront in Cape Town, only five things are of any importance really: eating, riding, eating, sleeping and eating. Therefore, I’d have to say, one of the best pre-event decisions we had made was to sign up for Woolies’ top-up meal. Upon entering the Woolies hospitality area at each stage finish, every rider on the Epic receives a musette containing an array of delicacies. If you had been clever enough to tick the “top-up” option when entering, you are entitled to a second. Remember, on the Epic, where most only clock in towards afternoon tea, this doubles as lunch – a rather important factor in surviving the eight-day ordeal. However, I quickly found out that access to food wasn’t necessarily the issue. Getting it down was. The hospitality marquee was a case in point – there were those who gulped down lunch while others were simply able to stare at it. I was one of the latter and found myself watching in wonderment those who didn’t find the sight of food after six to eight hours in the saddle even slightly off-putting. My team-mate, Craig, belonged to the first group. The deli sarmies, sweets and milkshakes never even touched sides. Throughout the eight days, I’d been amazed at his efficiency in dealing with grub. I didn’t buy his explanation that “no one feels like eating” and that he too was forcing his down. You had to eat today for tomorrow he kept on reminding me, usually while sorting out the contents of the second musette. But I think what he actually . . .