The promising career of teenage cyclist Ian Els has been given serious impetus with his recent appointment as an ambassador for HEAD Bikes in South Africa. The 15-year-old Pretoria schoolboy will make his debut as an ambassador for the cycling equipment giant on Saturday in Bloemfontein, where he will compete in the SA National XCO Championships. Under HEAD Bikes SA, the highly rated HEAD bicycles are available to South African consumers following a distribution agreement signed with the European parent company late last year. The Garsfontein grade 9 pupil will have his first chance to carry out his role at a major event in Bloem this weekend as he strives to consolidate his position as one of the country's most talented young mountain bikers. He is over the moon with the chance he has received and described the call from HEAD Bikes SA to join them as an ambassador as "my greatest phone call ever". "The HEAD Bikes team have strong values because cycling is their life, too, and they also love every second of what they do," said Els. Having started on July 1, he will fill the role until August 31 next year, getting a dream opportunity to promote HEAD's quality products. The partnership will provide him with a top-of-the-range hardtail bike from HEAD, the Trenton IV. In addition he will receive casual HEAD apparel and a Westfalia BC 75 bicycle carrier to make travelling to and from races easier. Having been a cycling fanatic since he can remember, Els, who lives in Zwavelpoort in Pretoria, said the bike had always been "my happy place". "To be the South African champion in XCO and represent my country is my aim, but I think the most important thing in life is to love and enjoy what you do," said last year's Spur Schools Series national champion. "Cycling is my life. I work very hard, but I love every second of it. "When younger cyclists approach me and I realise that I have made a difference - well, that is why we live." Having made . . .
KWAZULU-NATAL, BLYTHEDALE COASTAL ESTATE – Due to its immense popularity, the South African Obstacle Course Racing industry has, over the past few years, ensured that this past weekend’s inaugural South African Obstacle Course Racing Championship was a world-class event according to the two 2018 South African OCR Champions, Thomas van Tonder and Trish Bahlmann. Responsible for bringing the OCR Championships to South Africa is Fritz Pienaar, CEO of Advendurance and the Warrior Company, powered by Reebok, and SAOCR, which was endorsed by Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC). The first South African OCR Championships was held in conjunction with at Toyota Warrior Race #5 at Blythedale Coastal Estate on the 14th and 15th July 2018. Set against a backdrop of pristine beaches, unspoiled forest, rivers and estuaries, the Blythedale Coastal Estate was the perfect setting for the South African OCR Championships. The OCR World Championships structure is Age Group and Pro Championships, and by building upon the 10Km Commando Elite and 15Km Black Ops Elite divisions respectively, each event featured distinct championship obstacles, with exclusive podium medals and a prize purse exceeding R200 000. Featuring a full compliment of South Africa’s top OCR athletes, the Black Ops Elite/SA OCR Championship race was a gruelling 19km trail course with 35 Warrior series finale obstacles that included four brand-new obstacles. The top three male and female athletes would receive cash prizes and free entry into the Pro Division World OCR Championships to be held on 19 - 21 October 2018 in London, England. The men’s Black Ops Elite/SA OCR Champs race was hotly contested between South Africa’s top 2 OCR athletes, Thomas van Tonder (Warrior Brand Ambassador) and Claude Eksteen (Supa Mama). It was neck-and-neck, changing the lead throughout the race, but it was Van Tonder who proved strongest on the day, crossing the Championship line in 01h44m19s, just six minutes . . .
The Madibaz tennis team will return to the A section of the University Sport South Africa tournament next year after earning promotion at the recent week held in Bloemfontein. Nelson Mandela University were unable to play in last year's event because of student strikes and had to compete in the B section this year, despite an application to be included in the top division. Team coach Hennie de Klerk explained that the USSA regulations did not allow for a team to play in the A section if they had missed the previous tournament, adding that Wits "were in the same boat". Overcoming extremely cold early-morning conditions in the Free State capital, he said Madibaz achieved their objective of getting back into the A section. "Going into the week, the team expected to win promotion because we are traditionally one of the country's strong tennis universities," said De Klerk. "For example, we were fifth the last time we competed in the A section." This year, Madibaz faced tough opposition from teams such as Wits and the B sides from the Pretoria, Stellenbosch and Potchefstroom universities. De Klerk said the promotion was just reward for the work the players had put in. "We compete with some very strong varsities, who pour their resources into scooping up the top young talent in South Africa. "Free State won the event for the eleventh year in a row, giving you an idea of the emphasis they place on attracting top players, as well as coaching and conditioning experts. "However, our performance showed that we are competitive against the top sides. The whole team must be congratulated for their efforts. "They showed great character and grit to win some long three-set matches. There was good player support and pride in Mandela University," De Klerk said. The outcome was particularly noteworthy given the players' academic commitments. "A big challenge was that the tournament was held just after the mid-year exams. That can make preparations . . .
The award-winning real estate group Tyson Properties recently teamed up with Ballers Soccer Club to give young boys and girls in Johannesburg the chance to take their football skills to the next level. The company co-sponsored a soccer clinic at the Pirates Club in Greenside for boys and girls in the under-6 to under-12 age groups. The five-day soccer camp provided an opportunity for young players to get expert coaching through a specialised programme using the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar as inspiration. Chris Tyson, managing director of Tyson Properties, said the company was keen to see youngsters given an opportunity to hone their skills and further their football talents. “Involving ourselves with communities in which we sell and rent properties, and investing in the well-being of the people in these areas is important to us,” Tyson said. He added that as Tyson Properties had recently broadened its horizons in Gauteng, it was a good time to extend to Johannesburg its ongoing successful Cape Town sponsorship to Soccer School. Achieving important “goals” of growth and expansion were priorities for the company: the Gauteng flagship office in the Design Quarter area of Fourways recently extended its reach to surrounding high-growth nodes. In addition, Tyson Properties has recently opened a Dunkeld branch and will have covered the north when its Westerly office opens early next year. The Cape-based Soccer School runs all year-round training for children in the Under-4 to Under-14 age-group categories. Owner and founder Liam Shirley, explained that “It’s designed to instil confidence in youngsters’ soccer ability. It is an all-inclusive programme for children of all abilities that focuses on helping them leave our sessions with increased confidence.” He thanked Tyson Properties for their support in making the Ballers Soccer School clinic more accessible to more children. For more information, visit www.tysonprop.co.za CLICK . . .
The Madibaz surfing team will be aiming to go all the way when they target the University Sport South Africa title at Victoria Bay near George, starting tomorrow. In last year's tournament, the Nelson Mandela Bay surfers came within a whisker of winning the overall title, ultimately losing to the University of Cape Town by just eight points. Madibaz Surfing manager Melinda Goosen said today that, following a weekend camp at Vic Bay last month, there was a sense of confidence in the squad. "The team selection started in April already, when the first trials were held. "The team was finalised after three sets of trials and the surfers spent a weekend in Vic Bay from June 15 to 17 for their final preparations." Good conditions were expected at the popular surfing spot on the Southern Cape coastline, but Goosen acknowledged that the Madibaz surfers would have to adapt to some challenges. "The conditions can also get tough and we will just concentrate on the competition day by day," she said. "The surf will obviously be the same for everyone and it is the surfer who comes out best on the day who will progress. "We have had good results at Vic Bay in previous years and we hope to build on that." Goosen added that they had a number of talented and experienced surfers in their squad. Some had competed in previous USSA tournaments and knew what to expect. "Gregory Cuthbert, our top male, who came second in the individual section last year, and Tristan Pringle, who made the 2017 semifinals, will be leading the way. "On the women's side, Britney Linder is our No 1 seed. She finished second last year. We also have a newcomer in Tahra Uren, but she is an experienced surfer and will add much value to the squad. "Over the years we have had good team dynamics, with all our surfers progressing to the second round, which is a great achievement in itself." Besides the individual performances, she said the team effort was as important, with an . . .
Twenty-eight promising young South African soccer players aiming to make their mark at the International Sport Federation for people with Intellectual Disabilities (INAS) World Football Championships have received some well-deserved support through Netcare’s Healthy Lifestyle Trust. “We whole-heartedly welcome the opportunity to support the South African Sports Association for the Intellectually Impaired (SASA-II) in their bid to send a team to the INAS World Football Championships in Sweden in August 2018,” announced Peter Warrener, Group human resources director at Netcare and a trustee of Netcare’s Healthy Lifestyle Trust. The aim of the Trust is to promote the physical well-being of South Africans through healthy lifestyle initiatives. The sponsorship of over R500 000, covers the costs of transport, accommodation and meals for the 28 soccer players for three five-day training camps ahead of the INAS World Football Championships. “In our view the SASA-II sponsorship will unlock enormous value by developing the potential of each of these talented individuals on their way to the World Football Championships,” he adds. Netcare has long demonstrated its commitment to promoting the creation of a society and economy that is inclusive of all South Africans, specifically focusing on broadening opportunities for people with disabilities. To this end, Netcare launched its Sinako Project in 2012 to assist unemployed young South Africans with disabilities to enter the mainstream economy. This on-going project offers structured internships and learnerships in a number of fields for people with disabilities. The project enables people with disabilities to develop the technical skills that will afford them real opportunities in the workplace. Upon completion of the learnership or internship, many of the candidates are permanently employed within Netcare. Towards the end of 2017, Netcare also entered into an enterprise and supplier development partnership with . . .
Local Professional Golfer, Andrew Georgiou, has successfully pioneered an innovative golf networking app that revolutionises the game of golf by allowing you to keep track of every golf course you have ever played. You can also create a golfing bucket list, and as the app grows you can get access to courses throughout the world. GolfPlayed is currently available on the app stores, and has seen thousands of downloads in their early months. The app has garnered millions of Rands worth of investments from golfers and business leaders worldwide, and has a huge future ahead of them. Speaking to Andrew Georgiou, founder and CEO of GolfPlayed, he expressed that the concept for the app emerged when he was chatting to a golfing buddy who asked him how many courses he had played. This seemingly simple question left Georgiou stumped. He had no idea, and went onto the app store to see if there was a product that existed that could help him keep track of this, and was surprised when nothing popped up. This was when he was inspired to combine his business background with his golfing career. The simplicity of the concept “The concept is simple and powerful. How many courses have you played? Where have you played? Where do you want to play?” Georgiou said, explaining the project to me. “Did you know that you can play any course in the world if you know a member there? Our goal is to get as many golfers on the app, so that we can connect our members and get them access onto courses that they wouldn’t normally have access to. GolfPlayed will bridge the gap and connect golfers globally. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” says Georgiou. “We are throwing the idea of how golfers connect with each other and courses on its head. We are introducing revolutionary ideas and concepts. When people see this, they are going to hit themselves over the head and ask, ‘why hasn’t anyone done this before?’” He explains. Big things are coming! The first release of the app is . . .
The KPMG Madibaz golf team held their nerve under pressure to regain the University Sport South Africa matchplay title at Port Shepstone Country Club in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday. The Nelson Mandela University students maintained their high standing in varsity golf, having also won the title in 2016 and being runners-up last year. The team qualified as the top side for the matchplay by winning the team strokeplay event on Monday and Tuesday, which meant they faced their B side in their opening fixture. Team manager Karl du Preez said they overcame the B side, as well as Varsity College, to set up a final showdown against University of Pretoria. "It was a closely contested final, with Madibaz leading 1.5-0.5 after the morning foursomes. "Tuks won the number three and four singles in the afternoon, but Altin van der Merwe [who had won the individual strokeplay title] and Kyle de Beer came through to take their singles, securing overall victory for Madibaz. "A highlight was the ability of the players to perform under pressure," Du Preez said. "In the matchplay final it looked like we might be going down 1.5-0.5 in the foursomes, but in the last three holes our players turned it on and produced an effort that, I believe, won the title for us." Turning the possible deficit into a 1.5-0.5 lead meant they had to win only two of the four singles to take the trophy, said Du Preez. On a fairly tight course, keeping the ball in play was the key to success. "Winning the strokeplay was set up by three players shooting sub-par rounds," Du Preez said. "Both Altin and Kyle were extremely consistent in the matchplay. Altin was named the most valuable player after getting six out of six points, and Kyle earned five out of six points." Du Preez said Van der Merwe's superb control with his long irons had helped him to keep the ball in play on some of the narrow fairways. "He shot rounds of 68 and 70. His first round of 68 was exceptional as he was . . .
JBay Winterfest 2018 - MTB, Trail Running and Fishing Finish The Festival! JBay – the final events in the action-packed JBay Winterfest have finished off, which sees the closing of one of the most exciting festivals ever. After the Corona Open JBay Men's and Women's surfing events, the Cold Water Swim Classic, and the Funduro were finished during the early days of the Festival, this weekend saw the culmination of the final events. These events were the JBay Windfarm MTB Classic, the Endurade JBay X Trail Run and the JBay Winterfest Skins Fishing Competition, as well as the final gigs in the hugely popular Corona Sunset Sessions free music shows. JBay Windfarm MTB Classic: The sixth edition of the JBay Wind Farm MTB Classic took place on Saturday 14 July. Riders of all ages and skill levels braved wet and chilly conditions to tackle the finest trails around the Eastern Cape holiday town of Jeffreys Bay. The event, which forms part of the JBay Winterfest, offered three distances a 25km fun ride, 50km marathon and the gruelling 85km ultra marathon. At the sharp end of the ultra marathon, Declan Sidey from Team Mad Macs p/b hazz out of Stellenbosch was the convincing winner. In the women’s race Yolande de Villiers rode a spectacular race to complete her hat trick, finishing sixth overall in the 85km, in a time of 03:59:51. She also collected the R11 000 first prize for her day in the rain, with Anriëtte Schoeman in second and Shauna Esmeyer rounding out the podium. “It was hectic out there,” commented a visibly exhausted De Villiers after the finish. "It was cold and muddy but I still had a lot of fun! The new bits of singletrack and bridges were really awesome,” she said. Full story and results here https://bit.ly/2uHUveX Full gallery here https://bit.ly/2uuKXoj Endurade JBay X Trail Run This three-stage trail run series, with day and night runs, had the biggest entry so far in the history of the event, and was an exciting but grueling . . .
JBay Winterfest: Surfing, Swimming, Music and Funduro JBay – The JBay Winterfest 2018 has had a busy few days, with a number of different events going down in and around the contest hub. The Corona Open JBay Women’s event kicked off last week, with excellent surf at Supertubes following on from the men’s event. South African wildcard Bianca Buitendag did well to win her opening round heat and advance directly to the third round. Surprise eliminations from this event were Sally Fitzgibbons from Australia and Courtney Conlogue (USA). With good surf on track for JBay, the event will restart later in the week. For more go tohttp://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2018/wct/2750/corona-open-j-bay-womens The Cold Water Classic open water swim was a huge success this year, with the most entrants thus far in the event’s six-year history. With an air temperature of 19 C, conditions on land were a stark contrast to the icy water that awaited swimmers from all over South Africa who descended upon Jeffreys Bay to take part in the swim. Only three swimmers entered the costume division of the triple mile, an official Robben Island crossing qualifying swim. Veteran PJ Duffy won the men’s section, while Megan Albertyn won the women’s division. “What an awesome experience! I can't believe I haven't done the Cold Water Classic before - will definitely be back next year,” said Albertyn after her swim. Jeffreys Bay swimmer JC Van Wyk won the double mile while Paige Black won the women’s section of the event. East London swimmer Mbali Vellum in his first cold water swim had to tough it out to complete the double mile. “The water was very very cold but I really wanted to finish the double mile,” said Mbali after his courageous swim. Hannah Counihan from Port Elizabeth won the women’s mile while Peter Michaelides from Knysna won the men’s division. The winners each won a pair of Oakley sunglasses. The triple mile wetsuit division was won by legendary waterman . . .