Two Port Elizabeth youngsters hope their dream of competing in the RS Tera World Sailing Championships will be plain sailing after a fundraising golf day at the PE Golf Club next Tuesday (July 2). Junior sailors Justin Harth, 16, and Joshua Woolard, 17, have been selected to represent South Africa at the prestigious international regatta, which takes place from July 28 in Weymouth, England. According to event organiser Michael King of YBG Events and Tours, the boys needed to raise R35 000 each to cover the costs of taking part. "Unfortunately, sailing is not a government-funded sport in South Africa," said King. In spite of this, he said the country would host the event next year and therefore local competitors needed to prepare themselves by sailing against the world's best. "We want to give these two boys a shot at fulfilling their dreams and more importantly representing their country at the highest possible level. "Other regions in South Africa are doing the same in the hope of giving their kids an opportunity to take part. We believe in supporting our locals and the best way for us to do this is through the golf day." Grade 12 Cape Recife pupil Woolard – who represents the Algoa Bay, Redhouse and Point yacht clubs – finished third overall in the national qualification process for the RS Tera Worlds. Redhouse Yacht Club's Harth, who is in Grade 10 at Grey High School, ranked sixth. He placed 13th at the 2010 competition in France. King said his company focused on all things golf-related and specialised in running corporate and open golf days, as well as charity events and fundraisers. "YBG is striving to bring a fresh young dynamic to the golfing world of the Southern and Eastern Cape, and hopefully South Africa in the very near future." Therefore, when the company was approached to assist the two young sportsmen, King readily agreed. "YBG is working around the clock to make sure the benefits from this golf day will be the . . .
15-year-old Irene van Niekerk from Pretoria had the chance of a lifetime, when she had a private training session with world champion athlete Zola Budd recently. The young runner has astounded everyone with her 32 gold medal wins in middle distances over the past two years, despite numerous personal challenges. Van Niekerk has been living in a white squatter camp for the past six years and has managed to blast a victorious trail in the 800m and 1500m distances on the local school circuit, despite injuries she sustained while she was young which included significant hearing loss due to ear infections, malnutrition and mutilated feet. The meeting between the two has been instigated by Durban-based financial services provider The Unlimited, who sponsors Budd’s participation in local races. “When we first heard Irene’s story, we thought that it would be an incredible opportunity to introduce her to an iconic runner such as Zola. Irene is succeeding despite personal challenges and is even being called Little Zola by her classmates. We hope that this training session will inspire her to further her running career and give her some guidance from someone who also had to face difficult situations. Our business ethos is to help ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things and we believed that Irene would benefit tremendously from meeting Zola, who has achieved so much during the past three decades,” mentions Steph Bester, CEO of The Unlimited. There are many similarities between the young Irene and her role model Zola Budd. Both started running at an early age and Irene still prefers to run barefoot, just like Zola in her younger days. Irene’s choice of footwear is however caused by the fact that she sustained severe burn injuries to her feet when she was younger and find most running shoes very painful. Both also suffered the tragic loss of a sibling and parental guidance has played a role in their success. Zola was initially coached and managed by her farther, . . .
As former University of Johannesburg student Chris Froome prepares to launch his title bid at the Tour de France on Saturday, his alma mater will be doing the same at the national student cycling championships in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, this week. Froome, who races for British professional outfit Team Sky on the UCI World Tour, will serve as special inspiration for the UJ squad when they take on eight of the country's top tertiary institutions in the five-stage USSA road tour, said UJ cycling manager Karel Mouton. Their message to Froome was a simple one: "Make it count". The Kenyan-born roadie, who was educated in Johannesburg, won the green points jersey at the 2005 student championships in Cape Town. And after winning the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month, his fourth stage race victory this season, Froome has emerged as a major contender for Le Tour having finished runner-up to compatriot Bradley Wiggins last year. Mouton remembered Froome as a very modest, mild mannered and shy student. "He was also very determined and followed advice and training suggestions to the letter." He recalled how Froome had the management of a five-star Cape Town hotel running around trying to find spinach pasta because the version they served "wasn't low GI enough" for his race nutrition. "During his student years, there was seldom an occasion when I found him at home when I called. He was always alone on his bike around Hekpoort, Randfontein, Hartbeespoort Dam or Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve – he taught himself to climb mountains." Although the all-rounder put his studies on hold in 2007 to pursue a pro racing career, Mouton said Froome could still be found riding the highways of Gauteng during his annual Christmas visit. "But this past year Team Sky sponsored a black Jaguar, branded in black and blue, to follow his every move on our notorious roads!" He said the current UJ squad comprised Martin Scheppel, Martin Pieterse, Devon Main, . . .
The Shukuma-NMMU squad will be aiming to add a second victory to their name when they host the Bestmed University Sport South Africa cycling championships in Port Elizabeth next week. The event starts with the mountain bike discipline on Tuesday, June 25, followed by the three-day road tour from Wednesday. Although not the defending champions – that honour belongs to the University of Pretoria – the local team set a winning precedent when they last hosted the championships five years ago. Team captain Wesley Augustyn, who was part of 2008's victorious squad, said their main focus would be on winning the overall team classification. "But an individual overall win will also be in the back of the riders' minds," he admitted. "I would say that we are probably stronger as a team than we were in 2008, but the competition has become tougher and more pro riders are competing." The outfit comprises Augustyn, danger men Gerrit Nel and Marinus Prinsloo, as well as Waldo Gronum, Phillip Erasmus and Henno Cronje. The team will be without the services of Sean Bos, who broke his collarbone in a crash during a training camp in Franschhoek last week. Augustyn said Nel, who hails from Graaff-Reinet, was on his best form again after battling heart problems over the past few years. "He is ready and fit. Gerrit is a very good all-round rider with a high pain threshold and the ability to outperform his rivals when it counts most. "He also has a big influence on the team as he brings a lot of experience from racing as a youngster in Belgium." Fellow all-rounder Prinsloo would provide the second prong of their attack, said Augustyn. "Marinus is on top form after competing at the SA track champs in Cape Town a month ago. He has the leg speed for those fast stages and sprint finishes. "He can also climb very well and plays an important role in ensuring that we don't lose time on the hills and in the time-trials." As the oldest tour rider, 24-year-old . . .
Nine of South Africa's top universities will gather in Port Elizabeth next week when the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University hosts the national student cycling championships. The University Sports South Africa event, presented by Bestmed, starts on June 25 with the mountain bike events and the opening stage of the three-day road tour. The reigning champion men's and women's teams, from the University of Pretoria and the Potchefstroom campus of North-West University respectively, will return to defend their titles against some of the country's top up-and-coming talent. According to NMMU's cycling manager Theresa Le Roux, this will be only the second time that the university has hosted the event. The last occasion was in 2008, when the host institution also walked away with the overall honours. Spearheading the Shukuma-NMMU attack this year will be former national downhill racer and team captain Wesley Augustyn, who is also the brother of international pro John-Lee. Gerrit Nel, Marinus Prinsloo, Waldo Gronum, Phillip Erasmus, Henno Cronje, Sean Bos and Matthew Hayter complete the local line-up. "The top rider at the champs this year will definitely be Timo Cooper from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, who is currently one of the top mountain bike racers in South Africa," said Le Roux. Cooper, who races for a pro outfit, finished third overall at last weekend's RE:CM Knysna 200 alongside his German team-mate Nico Pfitzenmaier. Le Roux said the road programme would kick off at 9am on the Wednesday morning with an 84.4km stage for the men and 62.2km for the women from Altona Primary School. This would be followed at 2pm by a 10km time-trial opposite the back entrance of the university on Marine Drive. "Thursday morning it's a 120km stage for the men and 90km for the women, starting at 9am on our South Campus." The racing finishes on Friday with a 2.4km hill climb on the corner of Seaview and Link Roads in the morning and a . . .
One lucky rider's raffle ticket paid handsome dividends when he walked away with R50 000 worth of unit trusts at the recent RE:CM Knysna 200 mountain bike race. Unlike many other stage races, which put the emphasis on prize money for the professionals only, the three-day Garden Route event set out to reward participants across the board. The lucky draw prize, courtesy of the title sponsor, was won by Digby Webb of Little Mowbray in Cape Town. A delighted Webb, who finished 71st overall alongside team-mate David Jones, said he had thoroughly enjoyed his debut at the event. "Despite the chilly wet weather, the vibe was festive, my bike held out and we had a very consistent result. "The organisation was great, the food was perfect and of course the mountain biking and routes were top-notch. I even got to ride a bit with Victor Matfield – how awesome is that?" The 44-year-old said he had decided to enter the R250 raffle because it was in aid of a good cause. All proceeds went to the development of underprivileged youngsters at the Knysna Sport School. Webb, who works in IT infrastructure consultancy and sales, said he already had plans for his long-term investment. "I suppose the first thing that comes to mind is saving for my two daughters' tertiary education." In an increasingly tough economic climate, he said the investment fit perfectly with his existing portfolio. "One always feels as though, with inflation, you can never be too confident that you have all your bases covered." According to RE:CM chief executive officer Jan van Niekerk, the prize perfectly echoed the event's rider-centric focus. "It was also imperative for us to give back to the community in the region." As a sponsor of professional mountain biking, Van Niekerk said it was appropriate to support an initiative that developed future sporting talent. "Naturally, RE:CM has an objective of not only sponsoring the race to build brand awareness, but to turn that . . .
The Skateboarding for Hope community outreach programme will be rocking the Diamond City this weekend with a full day of skateboarding action at the Kimberley Skate Plaza. Skateboarding enthusiasts from across the Northern Cape and Free State will descend on the state-of-the-art skate park to show off and showcase their skateboarding tricks on Saturday, 15 June 2013. One talented skateboarder will also win a wild card entry into the world skateboarding championships, which will be taking place in Kimberley in September. The day’s action will include skateboarding clinics, demos, best trick competitions with cash prizes and skateboarding merchandise up for grabs. The Skateboarding for Hope initiative was launched by the Northern Cape provincial government to offer South African youth the opportunity to challenge themselves mentally and physically. The programme aims to introduce youth to skateboarding as a healthy, affordable and accessible lifestyle alternative, while creating a strong youth culture centred around mutual respect and intercultural cohesiveness. As a way of combatting socio-economic problems affecting the youth, Skateboarding for Hope presents road shows with skateboarding clinics and life skills training to raise awareness of the fastest growing sport in the world. The Skateboarding for Hope road show is proudly supported by Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore and is currently traveling across the country to promote skateboarding as a sport and to identify emerging talent to compete in the amateur division of the world championships. Retail partner Boogaloos has lined up a jam-packed schedule in seven of the country’s nine provinces and has also added three Grand Slam events in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg respectively. According to Mr John Block, Northern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, it is especially fitting that the tour should land in Kimberley this weekend. “Kimberley has definitely become the official . . .
Seasoned pro Waylon Woolcock and rising star Lourens Luus ended an electrifying game of one-upmanship to emerge as the mud-splattered overall winners of the three-day RE:CM Knysna 200 mountain bike race on Sunday. The Stellenbosch-based RE:CM duo hung on to their split-second overnight lead, and their brakes, on the wet and slippery 58km final stage to seal victory over their FedGroup-Itec rivals Kevin Evans and Brandon Stewart. 'It was quite a big goal for us to win and we're happy that we could pull it off," said national marathon series champion Luus. He and Woolcock crossed the finish line at Thesen Harbour Town in 2:14:32 to secure the overall honours in 7:44:56. Stage two winners Evans and Stewart overcame fading brakes to take third on the stage in 2:21:28 and the overall runner-up spot in 7:51:53. Former German Xterra rider Nico Pfitzenmaier and his young Bridge team-mate Timo Cooper finished second on the day in 2:17:15 to round out the overall podium in 8:00:09. After a cold and cautious start at the Harkerville Forest Station, the main contenders separated themselves from the rest of the field as they quickly rose high above the Indian Ocean. At the well-known lookout point at Kranshoek, some 15km into the stage, the four top teams – including RE:CM Rowers Matthew Brittain and Rob Dormehl – were at the head of affairs. But, by the first waterpoint at the 23km mark, the London Olympic gold medallist and his partner had dropped out of contention and were more than a minute and a half behind. The remaining three teams raced conservatively through the wet and technical Harkerville trails and were still together at the Brackenhill waterfall spectator point near Noetzie. Woolcock and Luus started asserting themselves as the conditions worsened and pulled 20 seconds clear of the two chasing pairs as they approached the Kruisfontein waterpoint at 40km. 'We didn't start off too hard because we knew there were a couple of big climbs . . .
Kevin Evans and Brandon Stewart effectively drew even as their titanic two-team tussle with Waylon Woolcock and Lourens Luus continued on the rain-soaked second stage of the RE:CM Knysna 200 on Saturday. The FedGroup-Itec riders held off overnight leaders RE:CM in a tense and tactical sprint to the finish at Thesen Harbour Town to win the 68km stage by a single second in 2:31:04. Little more than half a second now separates Evans and Stewart from Woolcock and Luus, who still lead the overall standings in 5:30:23. Bridge riders Nico Pfitzenmaier and Timo Cooper crossed the line third in 2:35:13 (5:42:54) to retain the same position in the general classification. With Stewart showing signs of struggling soon after the start at Rheenendal, Pfitzenmaier and Cooper put in a couple of big early efforts in near-perfect mountain biking conditions. Woolcock and Luus were able to reel them back each time, with a recovering Stewart and Evans rejoining the leaders among the hills of the Garden Route National Park. The three teams reached the first waterpoint, in the vicinity of Millwood around 18km into the stage, as the weather took a turn for the worse and the rain set in. "I said to Kev that my legs were feeling better," said Stewart. "So he said, 'Buckle in and climb!'" They put in several surges on the ascents on the Goudveld forest loop and continued to work hard at the front of the group. The pace eventually proved too much for the Bridge duo, who were dropped on the technical single track section around the 30km mark. "When we saw the gap, we took it and rode away with the RE:CM boys," said Stewart. At the second waterpoint in the Homtini section of the park, approximately 10km later, Pfitzenmaier and Cooper were one minute off the back. RE:CM and FedGroup-Itec turned up the gas on the Rheenendal road and by the time they hit the new single track near Phantom Pass they had opened a more than two-minute gap on the chasing pair. "I . . .
Waylon Woolcock and national marathon series champion Lourens Luus struck the first blow in what is expected to be an epic duel with Kevin Evans and Brandon Stewart on the opening stage of the three-day RE:CM Knysna 200 on Friday. The duo, riding in the colours of RE:CM, outsprinted the FedGroup-Itec riders to take the 77km stage by one second in 2:59:18 in a dramatic showdown on Thesen Islands. The Bridge pairing of Nico Pfitzenmaier and Timo Cooper finished a distant third in 3:07:41. Woolcock said it was an important race for his team and that he and Luus were pleased to have won a stage in an event backed by their employer. "We'd obviously like to take the overall win for them too." Another of the pre-race favourites, the RE:CM Rowers, dropped out of contention quite spectacularly when Olympic gold medallist Matthew Brittain, fourth in the recent opening race of the Nissan TrailSeeker series, rode into a cow as he and his dairy farmer partner Rob Dormehl were attempting to pass a herd. "It was quite a small cow but I was going pretty fast. It must be feeling quite sore," he laughed. The top three teams went hard from the start at the Knysna Elephant Park, with Luus setting up the attack on the first climb of the day just 5km in. "We'd warmed up pretty well, so we thought we'd take a gamble and hit it early," said Woolcock. "The sooner we could put damage into the guys the better." Cooper was an early victim, dropping off the pace on the ascent. Although he and his German partner chased hard on the descent, they were unable to rejoin the leaders. Evans and Stewart stayed on the RE:CM duo's wheel on the next long climb out of the forest and through the first waterpoint at Packwood Country Estate after 28km. "We knew we needed to be in the single tracks first because Brandon and Kevin are pretty quick," said Woolcock. By the second waterpoint, on the dirt road before Petrus se Brand at 53km, Woolcock and Luus realised they would not . . .