Madibaz rugby coach Jarryd Buys wants his team to create a winning habit when they begin their Varsity Shield campaign at the Madibaz Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Monday. The Nelson Mandela University team's opening game is against Cape Peninsula University of Technology, heralding an intense start to the competition when they play three matches in eight days. After Monday's fixture, Madibaz take on Walter Sisulu University in East London on Thursday, followed by a clash with Grahamstown rivals Rhodes in PE on February 25. With their preparations having gone well, Buys said they were focused on creating a winning culture in the squad. "If you can start the competition on a successful note and build up a winning habit, before you blink that becomes the pattern for the rest of the season," he said. "We want the guys to be mentally attuned to that because if we can create that environment it's something you can build on in the years ahead." Regarding the tough programme next week, Buys said the players were looking forward to seeing some action. "We are exiting the pre-season mode and preparing for competition mode and I think it will be a relief to get out on the field. "What we have tried to do in our training is to replicate what we will face in the first week so the players will have an idea of what to expect. "We will also use a rotation of players in that period and then we have a bye on March 11, so that will help us a bit." Playing in the Varsity Shield for the first time, Buys said it was not always easy to know exactly what to expect from the opposition because of the changes in coaching personnel and players from year to year. "But we definitely won't underestimate anybody," he added. "I know it's an old cliché but our priority will be to focus on what we need to do to get the required result. "I believe we have a good enough squad to maintain a high standard and if we concentrate on the execution of our plans, that is 80% . . .
Cyclists who are targeting the Takealot Berge & Dale title next week will need to make sure they are well prepared for a challenging finish to the popular road classic. The feature race of 108km in the 20th edition of one of South Africa's longest-running events will see the leading bunch having to tackle the Sterkfontein climb in the closing stages. A huge entry is again expected for the February 23 race, which also includes an alternative distance of 60km. Entries close at midnight tonight. The Berge & Dale is a premier seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour and ideal preparation for the Western Cape race on March 10. Erick Oosthuizen, chief executive of race organisers ASG Events, said safety issues had played a prominent role in them deciding to reverse the route for the race in Krugersdorp on the West Rand. "The decision to ride counter-clockwise to the previous route was taken in consultation with the traffic department," he said. "This will allow us to get everyone off the N14 highway early in the race and we will now also end the race on the top of the Krugersdorp hill. "This will alleviate the anxiety of the entrance into a venue and will give the guys a nice run down into the race village at the Silverstar Casino once they are done." The changes, Oosthuizen added, would not detract at all from the challenge facing the riders. "It will definitely test them because the finish will be just as hard, as you now have to contend with the infamous Sterkfontein climb in the closing kilometres. He described the feature race as one which would test the riders' mental fortitude as well as their conditioning. "The first couple of kilometres will allow them to ease into the race, but the legs will be tested in the cradle [Cradle of Humankind], so they must be careful not to burn all the matches. "I believe the last couple of kilometres into Krugerdorp is where the guys will hurt the most." Oosthuizen added, though, that . . .
The Bestmed Madibaz Athletics Club have hit on a winning formula after hosting a successful meeting for senior and junior athletes at the Madibaz Stadium at the weekend. For the first time the club, in conjunction with EP Athletics, joined forces with the Port Elizabeth High Schools Athletics Association (PEHSAA) to hold a bumper meeting for athletes across the board. With plenty of incentives at stake, Madibaz athletics manager Nellis Bothma said there had been an excellent response from the athletes and that the initiative looked set to continue in the future. "For something that we hosted for first time it really went off very well," he said. "We had a discussion with all the role-players after the meeting and everyone was very happy, which means we will definitely look at the concept again next year." He added that the athletes had impressed with their performances in the track and field events. Prizes for the top three athletes of R500, R300 and R200 were up for grabs. In the men's category, Remano Felix took the honours with his efforts in the 200m and 400m, earning a total of 746 points. He finished narrowly ahead of Casper Lotter (100m, 200m), who collected 742 points, with Jade Schutte (100m, 200m) in third place on 691. In the field events, high jumper Garth Ellis took first place on 761, followed by Chrissio Roberts (long jump, 692) and John Mamabolo (high jump, 668). Lizhare Botha led the way in the women's track events, earning 1 387 points in the 200m and 400m, followed by hurdler Lara Dippenaar (1 308 in the 100m and 400m). Cayla Seddon (400m hurdles) filled third place on 845 points. Anneke Kapp took the honours in the women's field events, finishing with a total of 1 608 points from the shot put and discus. Hammer thrower Monique Vosloo (800) filled second place and triple jumper Maruska van Rensburg (663) was third. Junior sprinters Saskia Wait (DF Malherbe) and Bulumko Nthuthu (Grey High) are in line for the . . .
The Takealot Tour of Good Hope road race will throw its weight behind the Olive Children’s Foundation this year, using its status to raise awareness of young children who suffer from rare and life-threatening diseases. South Africa’s premier road cycling tour takes place in the Cape Winelands from March 4 to 8 and ASG Events chief executive Erick Oosthuizen said supporting a charity was a key element of the whole operation. The event has received UCI status for the first time this year and this has resulted in a rise in interest from cyclists, both locally and abroad. “Since its founding in 2006, ASG Sport Solutions has been as passionate about development and making a significant difference to the community as it is about cycling,” said Oosthuizen. “Known for bringing innovative, sometimes rare, brands to consumers, this makes the partnership with the Olive Children’s Foundation (OCF) a perfect fit as it was established to bring relief to families of children with rare conditions.” OCF advertising and public relations manager Megan Schumann said they were extremely proud to be involved with the Tour of Good Hope. “This connection to the professional cycling industry and endurance racing sparked an interesting relationship with the local cycling community resulting in a wonderful response and commitment to the OCF,” she said. Schumann added that there were a number of ways cyclists could support the foundation. “On entering, the riders will have the opportunity to make a donation to the foundation and be exposed to the charity, which was launched last year. “They will also be able to buy the specialised limited edition ASG cycling gear branded with OCF logos. “At the end of the tour, there will be blood donation stations for supporters and riders to register and even donate blood if they are up to it. “Apart from blood donations, financial donations and the various other ways to get involved, pure awareness about the OCF is crucial . . .
Justin van der Linde and Albertus Jooste won the 70km final stage of the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter from Grabouw to Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands today to clinch the overall title for the first time. The Rustenburg team began the last day of the 591km, seven-stage mountain-bike race with a handy cushion and completed a successful week by crossing the finish line at Holden Manz Wine Estate in 3:38:33. They were followed home on the day by Dirk Haentzschel and Mario Hakim Abu-Id, who won the third and fifth stages, with stage one winners Damien Ingram and Stuart Cathcart filling third place. Van der Linde and Jooste had an overall time of 26:42:44, with Ingram and Cathcart in second place. Filling third spot were Haentzschel and Abu-Id. Riding in their second TransCape, which is powered by Volvo, Van der Linde said they had no great expectations at the start of the week and were "really just looking forward to the experience". "After the first stage [from George to Oudtshoorn] we ended up five minutes behind the leaders," he said. "But we took the second stage, building up a decent lead of about 15 minutes. That made us review our strategy and we then decided to try to protect the lead. "So we rode a bit more strategically from that moment and did not always go at full throttle." Van der Linde said they almost came unstuck on stage five when a crash in the peloton saw him suffer a damaged back wheel, which set them back. "But we managed to get going again and lost only about nine minutes." In today's final stage, he said they rode in the bunch until they were able to break away up Franschhoek Pass to complete the stage win and the overall victory. Besides taking the honours, Van der Linde said it had been "another brilliant experience". "The venues and the hospitality were so good and the off-the-bike experience makes this race tremendous value for money. "To experience the different trails you find in the Cape Winelands . . .
University of Johannesburg Sports Events manager Niamh Faherty received recognition for her contribution to rowing when she was nominated for the Rowing SA administrator of the year award last month. Although the award at the annual function eventually went to Virginia Mabaso, Faherty said it was an honour just to be nominated in the administrator category. Mabaso is the development co-ordinator for Rowing SA. "The rowing community is a very small one and there are so many amazing people in it who do amazing things," said Faherty. "To be singled out is an incredible honour. "I really want to pay tribute to the winner of the category because Virginia is a remarkable lady from Rowing South Africa. "She works tirelessly to transform rowing and to find talent all around this amazing country. There was not a better person to win it and there is nobody I would rather have lost to." A devoted rower during her days as a student, Faherty, who lives in Westdene in Johannesburg, said that although she later moved into dragon boating the rowing bug never left her. "Once I left university I continued to be involved in rowing as a USSA rowing umpire," she added. "Last year I got promoted to a national umpire and I have been sitting on the USSA rowing committee as treasurer for the last two years." Besides her role with University Sport South Africa, Faherty plays a part in mentoring clubs on a volunteer basis. "For example, I have taken University of KwaZulu-Natal under my wing to assist them to find funding, among other things. They are a small club who need some guidance. "Obviously, UJ is my job and that is where my loyalty lies, so my rowing commitments are done outside of those commitments. "My focus is to try to help, not only clubs like UKZN, but others where I can to assist in raising the level of rowing to the benefit of all universities." In her citation for the award, Faherty was described as someone who had shown exemplary . . .
For two decades the Takealot Berge & Dale has been a must-do event on South Africa's road cycling calendar and this year's 20th edition on February 23 promises to be no different. Under new sponsors in Takealot.com and with a new venue in Silverstar Casino, race organisers ASG Events are anticipating a surge of interest before entries close on February 13 for the race in Krugersdorp on the West Rand. With the 108km distance proving highly popular, ASG Events chief executive Erick Oosthuizen said they were anticipating another huge entry. In addition to the feature race, there will be a 60km distance on offer. "We are pretty much at the total number of entries we had at the same stage last year, but there is definitely space for more cyclists and we are looking at a really sizeable entry once the deadline comes," he said. He added that the offering had increased in popularity over the years, having started as a race of just 30km in the inaugural edition. "Since then it has grown in distance and stature to become one of Johannesburg's toughest road races. "We believe the date for the race is perfectly positioned on the cycling calendar because it provides a big incentive for riders to get back into shape after the festive break." The Berge & Dale is a premier seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, but Oosthuizen said he had no doubt it could stand on its own as one of the country's road classics. "It is preparation for the Cape Town Cycle Tour but, increasingly, many riders are seeing the Takealot Berge & Dale as their own pinnacle on the cycling calendar. "Cost has become a factor because it's no secret that the economy is not where we all want it to be. "We believe cyclists are doing fewer events these days and are starting, more and more, to cherry-pick their races. "The months of January and February in Johannesburg have produced many quality races in the past 20 years and we believe we are one of them." Even . . .
Billed as a high-quality but affordable event, race organisers ASG Events are geared up for a flood of interest in the Liberty Winelands Encounter, which takes place in mid-April. This is the second leg of the annual Liberty Encounter Series, which includes the TransCape MTB Encounter, currently in progress, and the Waterberg Encounter in June. Starting in Boschendal, the race will expose mountain-bikers to the scenic trails of the Cape Winelands around Franschhoek and Paarl. ASG Events chief executive Erick Oosthuizen said an indication of the April 12-14 race's popularity was that it was sold out last year. They are again limiting the field to 200 teams, which incorporates a wide range of riders, from the weekend warriors to corporate teams, with a mix of professional cyclists. "Entries have been very steady but we believe the bulk of the riders are only getting interested from now onwards, so we are sure that will build up nicely," said Oosthuizen. "The previous four years were no different." He said their focus for the three-day race was to provide an event with the emphasis on quality, while ensuring it remained within an affordable bracket. "There are two options and both offer something of value. "The most popular category, proven by the number of entries received so far, is the option at LeFranschhoek Hotel and Spa, which can accommodate 80 teams. "The other option is an entry with lunch and dinner included at 60% of the full accommodation category, which makes it excellent value for money." Besides the weekend warriors drawn by the iconic trails of the Cape Winelands, Oosthuizen said it was the perfect getaway for corporates. "I think it's quickly becoming a must-do event, because not everyone can take the leave needed for a long race. "But an event from Friday to Sunday is the perfect length for many mountain-bikers and we feel we have a unique offering. "It affords our participants with a passion for the sport the . . .
There will be plenty of incentive to succeed for junior and senior athletes when the Bestmed Madibaz Athletics Club hold a major meeting at the south campus on Friday and Saturday. Madibaz Sport athletics manager Nellis Bothma said they would be linking up with the Port Elizabeth High Schools Athletics Association (PEHSAA) for the first time to provide an opportunity for athletes of all ages. "Previously the Bestmed Madibaz club and EP Athletics had combined to host a meeting, but this time we have also joined forces with PEHSAA and this allows us to provide a bumper meeting for all athletes," he said. Besides the chance to prove themselves in the track and field events at the Madibaz Stadium, athletes will be in line to receive cash prizes. "The best three track athletes and the best three field athletes will receive prizes for men and women in the U19 Open [there is also an U19 schools category] and senior events for scoring the most points according to the ASA point system," said Bothma. "The prize-money on offer is R500 for first place, R300 for second and R250 for third." In addition, schools athletes are in line to win a Bestmed Madibaz bursary of R10 000, provided the athlete is accepted to study at Nelson Mandela University in 2020. "This will be awarded to the best male and female school athlete of the meeting, according to the Bekker Point System," added Bothma. "The bursary will be paid into the student account of the athlete after registration in February 2020 following his or her first competition for the Bestmed Madibaz Athletics Club. "There is plenty of talent in the schools in our region and this meeting is the perfect opportunity to identify some athletes with a view to getting them to join Madibaz." The event is open to high school pupils who have progressed through the PEHSAA zonal structures and to licensed junior and senior men and women. The meeting will run from 9am to 6pm on both days and to compete in the . . .
International cyclists dominated the podium spots when the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter got under way in George today. Australian mountain-bikers Damien Ingram and Stuart Cathcart were first home in the 78km stage from George to Oudtshoorn, while Germany's defending champion Udo Mueller led the way in the solo category. Overseas riders filled the first three places in the team category, with Zbigniew Wizner and Pawel Gaca of Poland four minutes behind the Aussies, followed by Italians Marco Finazzi and Guilio Lodovico. Ingram, from Cairns, and Cathcart, from Canberra, are enjoying their first trip to South Africa and broke away from the main bunch with 12km to go to cross the line in 3:35:20. The first leg of the 591km journey through the Western Cape took competitors from George over the Montagu Pass to finish at the Chandelier Game Reserve near Oudtshoorn. Driven by Volvo, the seven-stage race will come to a conclusion at the Holden Manz Wine Estate in Franschhoek on Saturday. On what he described as a spectacular route, Ingram said he and Cathcart spent most of the day "riding at tempo with the bunch" before getting away near the end. "The end result was a bit surprising for us because we came to South Africa to catch up with an old friend and to enjoy the ride through the Western Cape," he said. "In the end it turned out be a bit more competitive than that and we had a bit more in our legs near the end, so we managed to create a gap with 12 kilometres left. "But it was a delightful ride and it was great to learn more about the trails that have been set out." The TransCape prides itself on the experience it offers off the bike as well and Ingram said they had not been disappointed. "We are very happy to be here and enjoying so much the race and everything it provides," he said. "Everyone has been so accommodating and we are looking forward to the rest of the week." Mueller is among a group of six riders from Germany who have . . .