University sport in South Africa is set to get a high-performance boost with the launch of the Varsity Sports competition platform, which took place in Plettenberg Bay on Wednesday and Margate on Thursday. Spawned from the highly successful Varsity Cup rugby tournament, Varsity Sports is the result of a partnership between 11 of South Africa’s top universities and Advent Sport Entertainment and Media (Asem). Speaking at the launch, Asem CEO and former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar said the first phase of the made-for-television inter-university competition would get underway at the end of the month with two action-packed Olympic sporting codes in men’s rugby sevens and women’s beach volleyball. The latter was introduced at the Atlanta games in 1996, with the former set to make its debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. "I personally believe there is so much sevens talent out there that will emerge through Varsity Sports," said Pienaar. "And this year women’s beach volleyball was the most sought after ticket at the Olympics. You’ve got great athletes, it’s glamorous and great fun." According to him, the competition, which had been three years in the making, aimed to achieve three major goals. "Firstly, we want to be the high-performance level between school and professional sport, giving those students with talent the chance to compete on television in a structured environment." To this end, Pienaar said Varsity Sports would play a supporting role to all University Sport South Africa structures and sporting federations. "Secondly, Varsity Sports will be assisting with transforming the sport to provide opportunities at tertiary level. But, and this is very important, the participants have to study and be successful because there is life after sport. "And, thirdly, we have to commercialise the space in order to bring sponsors on board and ensure that the concept is sustainable and self-sufficient." Co-sponsors First National Bank, Steers . . .
A number of big retail brands, including a national bank, have signalled their confidence in the rejuvenated Port Elizabeth central business district by moving into Pier 14 Shopping Centre on Govan Mbeki Avenue in time for the festive season. The most recent addition, the North End branch of Standard Bank, is relocating to Pier 14 and will open for business on December 1. It joins new fast food franchise outlets Debonairs Pizza and Cassie’s, which started trading last month. According to Martin Wragge, CEO of GRITprop Investments, which owns Pier 14 Shopping Centre, the influx of national tenants was in part due to a five-year, R40-million expansion process. "The upgrade has increased footfall and turnover and we now have more than eight million feet passing through our doors annually." Wragge said management was anticipating bumper peak season trading, with retail turnovers expected to top R270 million for the financial year. "We are thrilled that our efforts to increase trading volumes are finally paying off." He said total average trading densities were up by 18.1% and that the trend was expected to continue as management not only attracted new tenants but also "right-sized" the existing tenant base. "Too many of our tenants have been trading in oversized spaces due to historically cheap rentals." Over the past six months, Pier 14 had been engaged in a process of reducing the floor space of existing tenants by between 20 and 50%, said Wragge. "The result is better densities, more affordable rentals and greater profitability for the tenants and centre alike." He said the downsizing process had also opened up new trading spaces for retailers on the ground and first floors, which had been fully occupied for some time. Wragge said this had helped to diversify Pier 14’s tenant mix, which comprised mainly fashion, footwear, music, furniture and appliances, as well as health and beauty stores. "With the recent addition of Cassie’s and . . .
Top KwaZulu-Natal trail runner Tracy Zunckel outpaced a few riders in the recent FedGroup Berg & Bush near Winterton to raise funds for protecting rhino and other species in the Spioenkop Game Reserve. Zunckel, who is part of the local Bergville farming community, ran the mountain bike stage race trails to collect donations towards replacing the damaged game fence surrounding the cash-strapped reserve. She was approached by race organiser Gary Green following her participation in last year’s event, which saw them raise R25 000 for the Bergville Orphan Fund. According to the five-time Mont-aux-Sources Challenge champion, she immediately jumped at the opportunity to run for a cause and withdrew from another trail run in which she had been scheduled to compete. “It’s awesome to be able to use my God-given talent to help out in our community. It’s my privilege to run this race and to live in this spectacular part of our country. “We as a community have a responsibility to preserve and improve it for generations to come.” Zunckel, who races for sponsor Wedgewood, said it would cost an estimated R20 000 per kilometre to replace the fencing. The organisers opened the fund with a R25 000 donation. “Spioenkop has giraffe, zebra, rhino, eland and a multitude of other animals. It provides recreation for a lot of locals and visitors to the Ukahlamba Drakensberg area.” The 38-year-old ran the final days of both the three-day Descent and Original two-day events, finishing last in the former and beating more than 80 social riders in the latter. “The cyclists were really friendly and encouraging, although you don’t chat too much because everyone’s puffing and panting. The bet was that for every one I beat they owed me R1 000, but we don’t hold anyone to that.” Zunckel, who is also a two-time winner of the Rhodes Trail Run and Mutter Mountain Mania Ultra Trail Run, started at the back of the field and finished the 50km stage in four hours and 17 . . .
Media Release The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin Date: 11 November 2012 Subject: Unathi finishes her first canoe marathon at The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin. Please click on the links to download high resolution images. http://www.raydevries.co.za/images/OzzieGladwinD43.jpg http://www.raydevries.co.za/images/OzzieGladwinD44.jpg Deep Caption: Radio personality and South African Idols judge, Unathi Msengana successfully completed her debut canoe marathon at The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin at Albert Falls just outside Pietermaritzburg on Sunday. "I loved every minute of it! The camaraderie amongst the paddlers is amazing, and I'm looking forward to competing in the Dusi next year" said Msengana. Released by Ray de Vries of Ray de Vries Communications. For more information kindly contact: Carole Johnstone: Cell: 083 229 8374 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org More Info: http://www.raydevries.co.za Author: Gerard Griessel from Ray de Vries Communications. Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. No of Images Uploaded: None To gain access to None image/s please Like, Tweet or +1 this article: [l2g] Images: Radio personality and South African Idols judge, Unathi Msengana successfully completed her debut canoe marathon at The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin at Albert Falls just outside Pietermaritzburg on Sunday. Photographer: Supplied [/l2g] . . .
The celebrity line-up for The Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon next year has received another boost with media personality and award-winning performer Unathi Msengana announcing her participation. Unathi has become a household name as host of the Metro FM morning drivetime show and more recently as a judge on the Idols talent competition. She will be joining media personalities such as 5fm sports presenter Sias du Plessis and TV and radio presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen in tackling the greatest canoe marathon in Africa. Du Plessis will head up The Unlimited Charity Batch to raise awareness for The Unlimited Child, an early childhood intervention initiative and one of the official event charities. “I love a challenge and am always ready to tackle something new. I also have a really competitive streak, so I could not resist when Sias approached me to join this initiative. I am very committed to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle and this should add a new dimension to my exercise regime as I’ve never paddled before. The running will definitely be an extreme endurance test as I’ve had operations to both my knees, but I’ll be training hard over the next couple of months to make sure that I can complete 10 kilometres of portage, which means carrying the canoe on land. In addition, I’m also doing a lot of rowing and super circuit at the gym to build up my strength and cardio fitness,” mentions Unathi. During the run-up to The Unlimited Dusi in February 2013, she will be participating in a number of canoeing races and has already been receiving guidance from previous Dusi winner Thulani Mbanjwa, who is aiming for a top three finish in next year’s event. Unathi will be in extremely capable hands as she will be paddling with 11-time world champion surf skier Oscar Chalupsky, who has guided well-known personalities such as Bafana coach Clive Barker, soccer star Doctor Khumalo and former Miss South Africa Peggy Sue Khumalo down the river for this amazing . . .
KZN Athletics president, Sello Mokoena announced today that the federation will be hosting a special coaching symposium on the 8th and 9th of December 2012 in a drive to help develop coaching in each of the province’s districts. According to Mokoena, the symposium was organized when KZN Sport & Recreation MEC, Ms Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha urged provincial athletics federations to produce results as return on public investment allocated to provincial federations each year. “Ms. Sibhidla-Saphetha has expressed the need for provincial federations to play a larger role in development at grass root, as well as with elite athletes; athletes that could potentially go to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. KZN Athletics plans to develop at least ten Olympians from Kwazulu-Natal alone, and this coaching symposium will set the wheels in motion for us” said Mokoena. The symposium, sponsored by the DSR, will provide a platform for KZN Athletics officials and coaches from around KZN to come up with a solid coaching structure, as well as a coaching and training plan for those athletes. “Athletics South Africa has negotiated a structured IAAF levels 1 & 2 coaching programme to be offered in South Africa in 2013, while we would like to take advantage of this opportunity, we believe out there in the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal lies athletics germ-stones waiting to be discovered, developed and nurtured to become the best in the world, it is for this reason that we felt a coaching development programme that will include all 11 districts should be the starting point. We believe that the successful development of talented athletes rests with their coaches’ ability to train them correctly and look after their health, fitness and welfare over a significant period of time. We would like to develop a solid four year plan, and if we stick to it, we are sure to identify the province’s most talented athletes and help them develop into Olympic athletes” said . . .
Media Release Date: 6 November 2012 Subject: Kia KZN Expedition trades Durban finish for exciting single tracks Website: www.roag.co.za Organisers of the Kia KZN Expedition, presented by OUTSurance, have announced today that a route change has occurred due to high river levels. The recent heavy rainfall in the Durban area have made mandatory river crossings impossible, which has forced organisers to change the route, with the race now starting and finishing at Msinsi resort at Inanda Dam. Race organiser Wynand de Villiers has said that although the route has changed, it has brought an exciting new dimension to the race. "We were initially concerned about the route change, but we have set out a beautiful course that goes right around Inanda Dam, and this race will provide some of the most exciting single track racing in South Africa" said de Villiers. The route now consists of a 70 kilometre trail for serious riders, and a beautiful 35 kilometre trail for less experienced riders. The 70km route trails through the indigenous forest on the north side of the dam and will be a real highlight. Although shorter, this route will be quite demanding, and in true adventure biking style, will involve a short hike-a-bike section to get riders onto the mystical Shembe plateau. Once on the plateau, competitors will be treated to breath-taking views of the Umngeni river, riding high above Umzinyathi rapid along the cliff edges. The 35km trail is one that will lead riders along the edge of the dam on cracking trails as well as high above to take in the amazing views over the dam. After the opening kilometres where there will be a lot of ups and downs, the climb up Vika awaits to take riders to the first refreshment stand. “The reward for your hard work is a descent down what we have affectionately dubbed “Uberville”, a fun, fast and flowing single-track descent back to the water’s edge. Riders will be treated to more stunning trail through the forests of . . .
Media Release Date: 6 November 2012 Subject: The Unlimited International paddlers impress in the Vaal Canoe Marathon For high resolution image attached to this story, see bottom of this media release One second separated the first three boats across the finish line of the 2012 edition of The Vaal Canoe Marathon held yesterday (Sunday). The two day K2 (doubles) marathon was held in near perfect conditions on the Vaal river. The Unlimited Czech crew, Jakub Adam and Michael Odvarko, continued improving their placing on the South African circuit in their build up for The Unlimited Dusi in February. "We are very pleased to have our first podium finish in South Africa today" said a happy Adam. The pair finished less than a second behind the eventual winning pairing of Len Jenkins and Brandon van der Walt and Ant Stott and Cam Schoeman (who finished second). The two day race went down to the line in what can best be described as one of South Africa's only genuine canoe marathons. "For us it was good to be on the river the whole day instead of running through the bush with these crazy South African paddlers" said Adam. "We race again next week in The Unlimited Ozzie Gladwin, at Albert Falls in KZN, and this is the first Dusi type race" he said. The last word went to multiple Dusi winner and previous World Champion, Ant Stott. "I can tell you that these guys have really impressed us SA paddlers. They are getting better and better all the time. The Ozzie will be a great tester for them. I pip them for a possible podium finish next weekend" he said. ENDS Please click on the link to download high resolution image Photo Credit: Gerard Griessel / Ray de Vries Communications http://www.raydevries.co.za/images/IMG_0249.jpg Caption: The Unlimited Czech paddlers, Jakub Adam and Michael Odvarko push to the finish at the 2012 Vaal River Canoe Marathon. Released by Ray de Vries of Ray de Vries Communications. For more information kindly contact: Carole . . .
The Investec FEI World Cup Show Jumping Qualifier is once more being held in Cape Town at Glenellen Farm, Hout Bay from 21 to 25 November and promises a spectacle of Show Jumping from the top riders around the country. Organized by the newly formed Cape Town Equestrian, this is the only international Show Jumping competition in Cape Town and forms the last leg of the South African Series of the FEI World Cup Jumping Championship. Renowned international course builder Frank Rothenburger from Germany will oversee the building of the course with colleague Andreas Hollmann. Local course designers Kevin Sptatley and Brendan Silen will be working with the international team and will be assisted by Andile Balula, who is one of the rising young stars in the Eventing Course Designer and Builder programme. The type of jumps that feature on the course are a challenge to these top national riders, offering the audience an opportunity to experience the close bond existing between horse and rider as they ride the course . The classes are closely contested and, with more than 142 riders already entered , there will be much to interest visitors to the event. Sunday November 25 will see past winners of the World Cup Qualifier class, Gareth and Shaun Neill, pitting their skills against a strong Western Province line up. For the first time, four local riders feature in this 1.5m class showing a fast growing strength and skill from this region. Watch out for some of our local riders; Tara Louw and Anthea Erasmus as well as Liam Stevens, and Jeanne Engela, who have been campaigning in Johannesburg - as they raise the flag high for the province. Both Anthea and Jeanne are hot contenders for the title and spectators are promised exciting rounds by both these talented show-jumpers. Earlier this year Jeanne competed in the” big” classes on her mare Cloof Wines Chanel. Their first attempt at a World Cup Qualifier was in Durban and after winning this they went on to place 2nd . . .
The big surprise on day 1 of The Vaal River Canoe Marathon was that of Jakub Adam and Michael Odvarko, two Czech paddlers of The Unlimited International team. The pair swam and twisted their rudder, which lead to the boat filling with water. After an expensive 3 minute setback, the two managed to fight back to third place at the overnight stop. ENDS Released by Ray de Vries of Ray de Vries Communications. For more information kindly contact: Carole Johnstone: Cell: 083 229 8374 Email: email@example.com Or Craig Mustard Cell: 079 433 1768 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org More Info: http://www.raydevries.co.za Author: Gerard Griessel from Ray de Vries Communications. 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: Pictured: Jakub Adam (front) and Michael Odvarko (back)[/l2g] . . .