JBay Winterfest – Two times world champion John John Florence from Hawaii and eleven times world champion Kelly Slater from America will both be competing in the Corona JBay Open this year. With thirteen world titles between them, the surfers were absent from the perfect waves of Supertubes for one of the last two years as a result of serious injuries at the time, but both are now fully recovered and are surfing with all the skill, talent and passion that they are known for. Last week saw the Rip Curl Pro take place at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia. The surf was positively huge, but what was most noticeable was the rejuvenation of Kelly Slater, and that of a rampant John John Florence. Slater defeated Australian favourite Julian Wilson early on in the event, and ended up a very credible fifth place, a result that saw him shoot up the rankings by 19 spots to rest at 14th on the Jeep Leaderboard. Florence on the other hand went all the way to the final, where he came up against a fired-up Filipe Toledo from Brazil. In the giant and perfect surf, it was the Hawaiian who came out on top and is now leading the Championship Tour rankings, with a look about him that he is very interested in another world title. On that subject, South Africa’s very own Championship Tour surfer and two times Corona JBay Open champion Jordy Smith ended up a very solid third place at Bells Beach. Smith is currently sitting at 3rd place on the world tour rankings and is another surfer who is having a look at a world title. The Durban-born surfer has yet to win a world title but has finished in the runner-up position twice. Brazilian Filipe Toledo, who came second to John John at Bells is also an interested party at this year’s Corona JBay Open. He is sitting 4th on the current world tour rankings, which puts him very much in the 2019 world title race conversation. He also has the distinction of winning the previous two Corona JBay Open contests, and will come into this year’s . . .
University of Johannesburg hockey manager Elize le Roux continued to expand her chosen path in the sport when she was recently awarded a level-three technical official certificate from the international body (FIH). The former player, who also manages the UJ astro facility, is developing a career on the technical side of the game and this latest achievement will open new doors for the hockey enthusiast. Le Roux is one of those fortunate individuals whose job is a labour of love and she is looking forward to putting her new status into practice. "I love what I do and I think it comes from knowing as a youngster that I had a passion for sport and administration," the 35-year-old said. "And working with your passion and strengths adds satisfaction in job and life." She has a strong hockey background, having played throughout her junior days and come under the mentorship of Adrian Carter in high school. Carter, now the director of sport at Wits, subsequently became the UJ hockey manager and was influential in Le Roux's career path. "I think after high school the passion for the sport grew and it was a way for me to get an education at university and play competitively," she said. "I studied and played for UJ from 2002 until 2008 and later I became the co-coordinator for UJ youth hockey and a committee member. "Having chosen B.Com sports management with a view to my future, I was assisted by Adrian, who taught me the practical elements of being a manager at UJ. "With his own job promotions, I was blessed to have been successful in being invited to take on the UJ hockey manager position, which I have held since 2010." As time progressed, Le Roux, who lives in Bergbron in Johannesburg, saw a niche for herself as a technical official, which has taken her to her current status. "We have a long history in SA hockey for technical staff and umpires, but umpiring wasn't my calling. "I did some technical work under mentors like Marie Janse van . . .
In addition to providing fun and exercise for thousands of women, the SPAR Women's Challenge will play an important role in achieving its community objectives when it takes place in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. This year part of the race entry fee will be donated to the Sanitary Sistas initiative, which was started by the PE branch of the Businesswomen's Association of South Africa to provide schoolgirls with much-needed monthly sanitary products. The Women's Challenge, which is preceded by the Kids' Challenge on Wednesday, will take place on Saturday at Pollok Beach in Summerstrand. The 10km and 5km events traditionally attract close to 10 000 entrants. The Sanitary Sistas initiative ties in with the company's philosophy of contributing to various sectors of society and SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton said this was an important cause to support. "We are using the SPAR Women's Challenge to raise awareness of the need to change mindsets towards how people use plastic, but there are other objectives as well," he said. "By supporting the Sanitary Sistas project we hope to contribute to a cause which is so real to women in South Africa and Port Elizabeth." He added that the team responsible for the initiative would be positioned at the registration tent and anyone wanting to drop off products with them when they registered was welcome to do so. Renee Whittal of the BWA CSI/Youth Outreach task team, who assist in co-ordinating the programme, said it was estimated that at least 60% of South African girls and women could not afford to purchase any form of sanitary protection. "As a consequence young girls may lose up to 50 days of schooling per year in an already pressurised education system," she said. She added that Sanitary Sistas was the team's flagship initiative, which they would like to grow through community support. "Our target is Grade 5, 6 and 7 pupils who do not have any other access to sanitary . . .
Kent Main shrugged off a recent illness to solo to his maiden win in the Takealot East Rand Classic cycling road race in Kempton Park in Johannesburg today. The 23-year-old ProTouch rider got away from a breakaway group with about 15km to go in the 98km feature race (formerly the Emperors Palace Classic) and was able to hold on for a satisfying victory. He crossed the line in a time of 2:23:01, just more than two minutes ahead of teammate Rocco King and Cycle Power's James Barnes. Main, from Linden in Johannesburg, said he was pleased with his performance after returning from the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia with a viral infection. "Physically I'm feeling fine and that's great because this was my first week back cycling after an illness," he said. "I have been riding every day just to get back into it, so I didn't quite know how it would go. "But this was the best I have felt all week and it's really good to get a win under the belt, which is always a big positive for your confidence." Although he is known for his climbing prowess and had said this sort of route didn't really suit him, Main added that there was not much sign of aggressive riding from his rivals. "The main break of the day of about 11 riders came after about 20km, but there weren't any real tactics going on, with almost a negative pace within the group. "I eventually got away with James Barnes and we were working quite well together. But I wasn't fully committed because it was still quite far to go and I wasn't quite sure how I would feel after coming off an illness." The breakaway group closed the gap on the pair, but Main then put in another surge. "At that stage I managed to get a small gap and as soon as I saw that I put my head down and it was a solo effort to the finish. "That was quite hard but it was a good day out and a great test for my legs to see what sort of condition I am in." The women's feature race was won by Clover's Sanet Coetzee, who . . .
The University of Johannesburg women's team will be banking on a classic blend of youth and experience when the Varsity Hockey tournament kicks off in Cape Town next Friday. The first weekend of matches takes place at the UCT astro from May 3 to 6 and UJ hockey manager Elize le Roux said they were preparing for a tough competition. She added that a mix of senior stars and promising U21 players formed the core of the squad and they had been gelling well in the build-up to the competition. "We have a great base of players from our senior group available," said Le Roux. "For example, national Olympic squad player and vice-captain Kristen Paton, captain Lisa Hawker, who played in the 2015 and 2017 tournaments and is a national squad member, and Namibians Phia Gerber and Jivanka Kruger are some of the senior players. "Combine them with several U21 players and we have a squad full of experience and youth. "But we know we need to stay calm and follow the coach's plans, taking each game at a time." With eight teams vying for the title, Le Roux said it was difficult to separate the top contenders. "I really feel that all the teams are in the running," she said. "The sides that perform most consistently on the first weekend will obviously be the ones to watch, but it will probably all boil down to what happens on the second weekend. "In addition, I think the bonus points on offer could be crucial in separating the teams in a tight competition." The second weekend will take place in Potchefstroom from May 10 to 13, with the play-offs being held on the Monday. The final will be played on May 20. UJ are operating with a new coach this year in former South African star Tsoanelo Pholo and Le Roux said preparations were going well under her leadership. "Tsoanelo has brought a lot of her own coaching culture to the squad," she added. "She has seen our players perform in various tournaments so the adjustment period was not too . . .
SPAR Eastern Cape will use the Women's Challenge in Port Elizabeth next week to introduce a new weapon in their ongoing fight for the environment in the bubbly figure of Zisa, the STOP Plastic campaign mascot. Zisa will be present at the Kids' Challenge on May 1 and the Women's Challenge 10km and 5km events at Pollok Beach on May 4 to remind all competitors about the damage plastic pollution is causing in the world. SPAR EC sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton said this was a wonderful opportunity to maintain awareness about the campaign in a fun way. "This will be the first chance to introduce Zisa to the people of Nelson Mandela Bay," he said. "Zisa will also be at the Kids' Challenge and will be bringing some surprise friends for all the children taking part to meet." The campaign got under way a year ago and besides the awareness created by figures such as SPAR EC STOP Plastic ambassador Sarah Ferguson, the immediate impact was felt with 3-million fewer plastic bags being sold in the last few months of 2018. Now, said Stapleton, they wanted to continue educating the public about their efforts and to encourage all to join in the fight. "We have various plans in place to keep the Women's Challenge a litter-free event," he said. "But more importantly we want to change mindsets about how we use and re-use plastic. Yes, we have a plastic problem but it is caused by a people problem and we just want to remind people of the role they can play." He added that STOP Plastic bins would "littered" all around the course and at the start and finish area. There will also be some new re-cycling bin stations. "There will be more than enough bins on the route for runners to throw their sachets away," said Stapleton. "We also want to remind people that there is an EP Athletics Association rule that runners can be disqualified for littering on the route." To enter the Women's Challenge, go to www.sparec.co.za. CLICK HERE to submit your . . .
The Sharks get in the mix with Fitch & Leedes Fitch & Leedes has scored a full house in the world of rugby with the announcement that this refreshing drinks range is the official mixer of The Sharks. “We are delighted to be in the mix with such a globally recognised brand as The Sharks and share their intrinsic lifestyle values and core strengths as a young and dynamic squad,” says Fitch & Leedes Brand Manager James Shaw. Commenting on the partnership, The Sharks COO Eduard Coetzee said: “We welcome the introduction of Fitch and Leedes premium mixers to our beverage offering at Jonsson Kings Park. We are delighted to associate our brand with another dynamic company that shares a similar entrepreneurial spirit to us. We look forward to an extensive and mutually beneficial partnership.” Fitch & Leedes is a premium lifestyle brand that has pushed the boundaries in terms of quality and product innovation, creating a niche for itself in the competitive drinks market as the range of mixers preferred by most master distillers, mixologists and discerning consumers. “We have disrupted the mixer category in South Africa by offering consumers a premium experience. Similarly The Sharks as an iconic brand have always pushed the boundaries both on and off the rugby field. The experience they have created in the stadium and their vision to elevate this experience going forward is something we simply have to be involved in,” adds Shaw. As the title sponsor of all the major G&T Festivals around South Africa, Fitch & Leedes prides itself as the understudy to greatness, accentuating the botanical character and subtle notes in premium gins and other craft spirits. Understanding the time and effort put into perfecting a premium spirit, Fitch & Leedes mixers are made for the utmost purity in terms of quality and taste to ensure the best representation of what was intended by the master distiller. The authenticity of this premium range is . . .
Defending champion Reynard Butler will be using the East Rand Classic road cycle race next weekend to kick-start his year after a somewhat disrupted beginning to the season. The popular Johannesburg event over 98km, formerly known as the Emperors Palace Classic, takes place in Kempton Park on Sunday, April 28, and offers an ideal opportunity for the sprint specialists to show their prowess. A year ago Butler, who rides for ProTouch, pipped Ryan Harris and Clint Hendricks in the perennial dash for the line, continuing a season which brought him six podium finishes in major races. The early part of this year has not run as smoothly, but the 31-year-old Butler said they were eager to get a win under their belts. "Personally it's been a bit up and down because I crashed out when racing in Gabon earlier in the year and had to withdraw due to injuries," he said. "I wasn't really in top form at the Takealot Tour of Good Hope or the Cape Town Cycle Tour and I have just got back from the race in Morocco (Tour du Maroc) where I had to pull out due to illness. So it's been a rocky start for me personally. "But the team has been doing really well and we will obviously be aiming for the top spot next week. "It's always good to get a win under the belt because that boosts your confidence, and with the guys in good form we are positive about a good outcome." Butler acknowledged they would have to be on point with their tactics due the fast nature of the course, but said they were prepared for that. "There are one or two sections of the course where the wind can affect things, but most of the teams know what goes down on the day and it usually does come down to a bunch sprint. "So it's important to have a good lead-out in the closing stretch to ensure you get your sprinter into the right position for the finish." Women's champion Kim le Court, riding for Demacon MaxWax Racing, is targeting a hat-trick of titles as she strives to continue a . . .
The Takealot Jock Classic, one of South Africa’s oldest road races, will offer a number of options when cyclists take the opportunity to stretch their muscles in mid-winter in Mpumalanga. Covering a distance of 155km, this event offers a unique package in which the overall distance is divided into three stages, all taking place on the same day – July 13. This deviates from the normal practice in cycling, where one-day races traditionally cover a distance around the 100km mark. But race organisers ASG Events are making sure that nobody gets left out this year by catering for various choices within the feature event, which takes place in Nelspruit, White River and Sabie. “We have decided this year to offer three options to those who want to compete in one of the country’s classics,” said ASG chief executive Erick Oosthuizen. “So this year you can do all three stages, for which we will naturally have the overall champions, or you can do the last two stages, or just the last stage. We feel this will cater for most riders.” However, there is a built-in incentive if you ride in two or three stages, because these come with meals, he added. The stages will cover 48km, 45km and 62km respectively and there will be starting times for each leg. Oosthuizen also said they would again have a junior men’s category, which was introduced for the first time last year. “We are keeping that because we would very much like to support cycling development and this fits in with our views and objectives.” Coming at a time of the year when the event calendar is not that full he felt it was an ideal opportunity to get in some decent winter training. “Fortunately, the weather is so good in the Lowveld that it is not a problem, while the race offers a unique challenge in incorporating three stages in one day. “Of course, the format of the event does throw up a few challenges, but it’s a great day out on the bike and you can learn a lot about your own . . .
Madibaz artistic swimmer Courtney Musson continues to impress in the national arena. She returned from the national championships in Durban last week with a haul of six medals - one gold and five silvers. The 24-year-old Nelson Mandela University student was part of the Eastern Cape artistic swimming (formerly known as synchronised swimming) team which competed in the event. She was delighted with her results and is now waiting on tenterhooks to find out if she will be included in the South African team to compete in the World Championships to be held in South Korea in July. "I was extremely happy with how I performed in my events, especially in my individual events," said the human movement science masters student. "I did, however, narrowly miss out on a gold in my technical duet event with my partner Nina Smith (from Port Elizabeth), but we were still satisfied with our silver as we have only been swimming together in this category for less than a year." Musson, who went to school at Erica Primary and Collegiate High, admitted to a degree of nervousness going into the championships. "I specialise in the individual events, also known as a solo, which includes a technical solo category and free solo category," she explained. "The technical routines are the most difficult category for the soloist as they incorporate movements that all the athletes have to perform within their routine. We are judged on how well these movements are executed. "The technical solo was one of my toughest routines that I had to perform at competition and previously, in December at our national club competition, I did not meet one of the criteria in the routine. "This drove me to improve on this aspect for the national competition." Adding to the pressure was the possibility of making the team for the World Championships. "The SA nationals also served as a platform for final selection for the world event," added Musson. "This was the second round of trials . . .