The University of Johannesburg's hockey teams confirmed their status as one of the top varsities in the country when they enjoyed considerable success in the University Sport South Africa tournament that finished on Sunday. The men's team regained the title they last won in 2014, while the women were shaded in the closing stages of their final against Pretoria University to finish runners-up. UJ hockey manager Elize le Roux paid tribute to the players and the coaching staff for doing well in a tough tournament, which was jointly hosted by UJ and Wits. "We must say massive congratulations to both teams for their performances and hard work," she said, while also commending the staff's role in the teams' success. She added that it had not been plain sailing during a well-contested week of student hockey. "After a narrow 1-0 win over Varsity College by the men's team, we had a tough match against Stellenbosch, which we lost 4-3 after conceding two yellow cards in the last seven minutes when we led 3-2." They then drew 1-1 with Wits in a massive showdown to secure a spot in the semifinals, where they defeated Pretoria 1-0. "In the final against NMMU-Madibaz we were 2-0 down for a long time before we came back to level the match at 3-3," she said. "We then scored the winner from a set piece to take the match 4-3." Le Roux said the women's team had a mental breakthrough on the opening day when they drew 0-0 with Free State after having lost to them in the Varsity Hockey competition. "We then beat North-West University 1-0, which was a must win for the pool standings, and followed that with a 4-0 victory over KwaZulu-Natal to end top of our section. "In the semis, we drew with Wits in normal time, but beat them 3-0 in the shoot-out before losing to Tuks in the final. "It was extremely close, with no score until two minutes before the end when they converted a penalty corner for the victory." While Le Roux said teamwork was the principal . . .
Athletes make it to Turnpoint 3 and 4, Aschau am Chiemsee and Lermoos. Day Four of the Red Bull X-Alps 2017 looked set to be another epic battle in the sky as the lead athletes entered the stunning northern Alps of Bavaria and Austria. In the lead was the race’s four time champion Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), who tagged Turnpoint 4, Lermoos Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, mid afternoon to cheering fans and well-wishers at the well known adventure sports hub. Meanwhile, chasing hard behind him was Gaspard Petiot (FRA2), who has enjoyed two spectacular days in the mountains. He arrived at Turnpoint 3, Aschau Chiemsee at 08:30, looking calm, focused and relaxed – but determined. The previous night the turnpoint had been the scene of a huge party as up to 1,000 fans converged to witness Maurer’s arrival at 19:00. He duly obliged the crowd with some acro moves before landing to sign the turnpoint board. Meanwhile at the end of field, it’s farewell to Mexican athlete David Liano Gonzalez, who was eliminated this morning as he was in last place. From now until the end of the race the team at the back of the field will be cut every 48 hours. Showing great sportsmanship, despite suffering from an overtraining injury that meant he would need to retire anyway, Gonzalez decided to keep going until the elimination time so that the competitor in front would not be cut. “I knew if I quit then the next athlete in front of me would be eliminated, I didn't want that and I would like to think if I had been in that position the person behind would do the same thing,' he said. Duncan Kotze of South Africa (Cape St Francis) is currently lying 26th overall in the grueling Red Bull X-Alps event. Kotze commented, “This place is fantastic,” he said. “It’s amazing. I come from the coast so these are big mountains for me. They make Table Mountain look like a training hill.” He added: “The ascent up Mangard was really tough but I’m feeling better as I go on. Maybe my feet are just . . .
PIETERMARITZBURG, 07 JULY 2017 – The world’s top paddlers descended upon Tamassa Resort in Mauritius this past weekend to compete in the Investec Mauritius Ocean Classic, Round 1 of the 2017 ICF Ocean Racing World Cup. The Mauritius Ocean Classic, a World Surfski Series title race, now in its ninth year, has established itself as one of the best downwind courses in the World Series. The 23km race from Tamassa Resort to Le Morne featured a stellar field of South African paddlers, including four-time winner and defending champ, Hank McGregor (Jeep Team SA), SA Single Surfski Champ, Jasper Mocké, four-time World Surfski Series Champion, Dawid Mocké, and seven-time Dusi winner, Andy Birkett. McGregor, the current World Surfski Series Champion paddled to his fifth Mauritius Ocean Classic title in 01:15:08, over a minute ahead of second-placed Dawid Mocké, in 01:16:15 and third placed, Jasper Mocké in 01:16:57. Results – Investec Mauritius Ocean Classic 2017 – 23km Wildsider Race Men 1. Hank McGregor 01:15:08 2. Dawid Mocké 01:16:15 3. Jasper Mocké 01:16:57 Women 1. Michelle Burn 01:27:59 2. Nikki Mocké 01:31:45 3. Wendy Reyntjes 01:33:47 CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
Young Guns On Fire on Day 4 of Ballito Pro presented by Billabong The young guns on the World Surf (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) were on fire on Day 4 of the Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong, ousting the more established stars as they chased the massive 10,000 points on offer in the first QS10,000 rated event of the year.. The day’s action kicked off early in funky one metre (3 foot) low tide waves and light crosswinds, but conditions improved all morning with a bump in the swell and windless, glassy conditions before the customary sea-breeze made it choppy and prompted WSL Deputy Commissioner Travis Logie to put a halt to proceedings soon after lunch. The committed approach by the hungry youngsters was evident from the in the get-go with Keanu Asing (HAW) and Griffin Colapinto (USA) eliminating current Championship Tour (CT) surfers Joan Duru (FRA) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW) in the first heat of the day. The same pair won their respective Round of 24 heats later to move into the last 16 . Colapinto, 18, finished ahead of current QS No. 1 Jesse Mendes (BRA) as they ousted 2015 Ballito champion Alejo Muniz (BRA), while Asing, 23, and South Africa’s Michael February put paid to Krystian Kymerson’s (BRA) chances. “I just wanted to pick the right waves and go for big turns, especially against those guys who are both probably going to be on the CT next year,” said Colapinto. “There are only five 10 000’s, so you have to capitalise when you’re in one and I’m stoked to be getting something to go on here.” Despite being bumped off the CT at the end of last year, Asing has a more relaxed approach and after winning a QS3,000 in Barbados earlier this year is looking forward to making more heats in Ballito. “Just coming through that heat was the game plan and I’m trying to work on wave selection and heat management. Once I get on the waves I know it’s going to be a good score,” Asing commented. “It’s an important event, but I don’t know about getting back on the . . .
Athletes enjoy favourable flying conditions at Red Bull X-Alps 2017 – but only after brutal climb to 2,000m. They waited and gazed longingly at the sky, hoping for a magical window when the weather gods would allow them to escape. The clouds swirled in, the sun disappeared, but in the end they could wait no longer. At 10:15am Gaspard Petiot (FRA3) and Toma Coconea (ROU) took to the skies in hot pursuit of Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) and Turnpoint 3, Aschau Chiemsee, some 179km to the north. The fight was on as day 3 of the Red Bull X-Alps adventure race unfolded. Petiot and Coconea had begun the day early with a 1,300m gruelling ascent up the northern flanks of Mangart. Petiot, whose brother and sister were both there to support him, said yesterday’s flight in which he put in 100km in the air, was amazing. “You always hope for a big flight,” he said during a brief rest to change clothes. “But you never know.” Not far behind lay Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) and Nelson de Freyman (FRA3). Guschlbauer was in the air for the second time at 11:00am and swiftly caught them up, having tagged Turnpoint 2 in the air. He was followed by de Freyman and by lunchtime the pack was chasing Maurer, who had established a 40 km lead after tagging Triglav the night before and heading past the Großglockner, Austria’s highest mountain. “It’s possible Maurer could pass Aschau Chiemsee,” Turnpoint 3, said race organiser Ulrich Grill. “The Drau valley is a famous long distance flying zone.” Tomorrow, Wednesday 5th, the team lying in last place at 6 am will be automatically eliminated. To avoid that fate, Claudio Heidel Schemberger (ARG) has announced he is pulling his Ledlenser Night Pass. He was the first to be eliminated in the 2013 edition of the race so will be looking to avoid the same fate. The battle at the back has begun, and it could be nervous times for David Liano Gonzales (MEX), Duncan Kotze (RSA), as well as Che Golus (AUS), Stephan Gruber (AUT2) and Richard Brezina . . .
PIETERMARITZBURG, 07 JULY 2017 – Over the weekend, Lac de Longemer in Xonrupt, France, played host to the XTERRA FRANCE CHAMPIONSHIP, an official qualifier for 2017 XTERRA World Championships in Maui, Hawaii in October. This 11th annual XTERRA France is part of the XTERRA European Tour, the premier off-road multisport brand in the European Union with races in 16 countries providing top competition for professionals and amateurs. KZN’s Mikaela Jonsson (20, Jeep Team SA), started her first season racing as a Professional at Xterra France, and what an introduction to her capabilities, managing an impressive 13th place finish in one of the toughest XTERRA races in the world. Jonsson completed the gruelling race in 05:08:33. The cold XTERRA France began with over 900 Elite male and female swimmers entering the water for a 1500m water-start swim in the 18°C Lake Longemer, which was 10 degrees warmer than the air. Jonsson had a great swim and was 111th out of the water in 23:21, and straight into a quick transition to start her 2 laps of 20.5km MTB. It rained hard the day before, leaving the MTB trails ridable, but very slick. By the time 900 Decouvert (sprint) athletes finished the MTB course, and 900+ long distance finished their first lap, it was a slow, gruelling and dangerous. Jonsson had a decent first lap in 1:39:02, but the much slower second lap in 2:00:31, which included an accident, was the decider of her fate, because her times on all other legs and laps were very close to the top 5 elite women. Women’s Elite winner, Laura Phillip (31, Germany), was 10 minutes slower on her second MTB lap and this was common through the results. To make matters worse, each year, the Charbonnier family creates a new monster MTB ramp and this year was no exception, and it was built with two separate ramps. Both down ramps and the banked U-turn got very slick and slippery. Some riders lacked the confidence to let their bike roll down the ramp and tried to walk . . .
Two NMMU-Madibaz karatekas were selected for national teams after the Port Elizabeth university finished second at the University Sport South Africa tournament in Pretoria over the weekend. The Madibaz, who won the title from 2010 to 2015, shared the runners-up spot with Vaal University of Technology behind champions Walter Sisulu University. On an individual level, NMMU's Teboho Zongola and Adre Weideman were chosen for USSA teams that will take part in international tournaments. The 21-year-old Zongola, a marketing student who competes in full contact, will head to Russia in December while Weideman, a human movement science student, will compete in the semi-contact discipline at the World Student Games in Taipei next August. Zongola, who hails from Matatiele in the Eastern Cape, was delighted with his selection, but added that he had plenty of room for improvement. "The tournament was quite hectic, but I'm happy with my performance and the team's overall showing. My best effort came on the second day in the knockdown category when I had four fights and lost only the last to come second." He said he was overwhelmed after learning of his selection. "But this is something that I have been aiming for and Russia will be another learning experience." Weideman, a 19-year-old from Korsten in PE, was encouraged by her parents to take up the sport and has been competing since 2006. She has been selected for national teams since 2009 and is looking forward to attend the World Student Games after missing out in 2016. "I was chosen last year to go to Portugal, but, unfortunately, it clashed with a number of other commitments," said Weideman, who won bronze in the kumite category. "But now I have another chance and I'm hoping nothing happens this time so I can make up for last year's disappointment." She said the tournament had been much tougher than in previous years, "which was good because it kept me on my toes". Madibaz Sport's karate . . .
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA –JULY 4, 2017 – Marriott International’s ongoing partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) is heading to South Africa, for NBA Africa Game 2017. Marriott will bring the excitement of the NBA to members of its award-winning loyalty program, Marriott Rewards, with unique experiences including VIP tickets to the game and the chance to interact and meet with NBA legends and an exclusive sweepstakes for South African residents. Marriott Rewards members in South Africa can now enter the Sweepstakes at youareherewithmarriott.com for a chance to win a weekend stay for two at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. Additionally, the winner will enjoy access to an exclusive meet and greet, an intimate breakfast with an NBA player or Legend and tickets to watch the NBA’s Team Africa take on Team World in support of UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa (SOSCVSA). NBA Africa Game 2017 will take place Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg. “We are committed to creating unforgettable moments for our loyal members, and what better way to do so than offering exclusive access to, on and off court action at NBA Africa Game 2017,” said Neal Jones Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Basketball enjoys great popularity throughout the world, and has a growing fanbase in South Africa. This is an opportunity for us to engage with our loyal members through their passion for the sport and give them a once-in-a lifetime experience while amplifying the benefits of our Loyalty Program.” NBA Africa Game 2017 is the latest event in Marriott’s partnership with the NBA that began in 2016 and provides loyalty members and hotel guests who are passionate about basketball with enriching and exclusive experiences. In addition to tickets to the game, Marriott will also host select members and guests at a special . . .
Jordy Smith Advances to Round 3 of Ballito Pro presented by Billabong Defending Champion Connor O’Leary Eliminated in Tight Decision Jordy Smith (ZAF) opened his campaign in the Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong with a workmanlike performance, advancing to Round 3 of the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 rated event when he finished runner-up to Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) in his first heat. Smith, the top seed and current World No. 3, stayed very busy trying to find waves with scoring potential and eventually found a running right hander that he ended with an air-reverse that the judges rewarded with 7.73 points out of 10. “Your strategy tends to change every minute, every second of the heat and you just keep reassessing things. I wanted to get the best waves out there, but that didn’t happened in the first five minutes and when others start off with big scores you’ve really got to go to backup strategies and backup waves,” Smith explained. “You couldn’t really tell if it was a good wave so I just figured if I keep getting waves and multiple opportunities one of them would be good. “Obviously I love being in Ballito, this will always be the first real contest that I ever competed in on the international stage, so there’s a lot of history and it means a lot to me. Also, I get to hang out with my friends and family, there’s extremely good waves here, just 30 minutes north or south of Durban, so it’s a great opportunity for me to stay in tune.” Second seed Connor O’Leary (AUS) was not as fortunate. The defending event winner, whose haul of 10,000 QS points at last year’s event saw him qualify among the elite Top 34 on the WSL Championship Tour (CT), struggled to find good waves in the freshening onshore breeze and he was eliminated after placing fourth in the next heat. Organisers then put the event on hold for an hour, and then another hour, in the hopes that conditions would improve. But with the wind strengthening they called the . . .
The first major World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) event of the year, the QS10,000 Ballito Pro presented by Billabong, ran through the Round 1 and first four heats of Round 2 in choppy one metre waves at Willard Beach on Monday. With 112 of the world’s best surfers chasing a share of the US $260,000 (approx. R3.3 million) and the biggest ranking points haul available on the QS, the action was fast and furious as the short-period swell provided plenty of waves. “For that heat my strategy was to get two average scores really quick in order just to start the heat. But there were so many waves coming and I didn’t know which one to take so I couldn’t find those waves in the beginning,” said 2014 Ballito champion Alejo Muniz (BRA), who finished runner-up in the last heat of the day to advance to the last 48. “It was really stressful and I was needing a very small score, just a 4, so when there was 5 minutes left I told myself to just wait for a wave with two turns, and I’m happy that I got it!” Jeremy Flores (FRA) has been coming to South Africa for many years and despite contemplating withdrawing from the event due to a recent leg injury, he won the final heat of the day. “The conditions are pretty hard so I think it’s anyone’s game and the one who catches the best wave is going to make the difference,” said Flores. “I’ve injured my leg so I wasn’t even sure if I was going to surf my heat But I told myself it’s only 30 minutes so I toughened up for two waves and I got through, so I’m stoked. It’s good to be back in Ballito, I feel good here, the food is good and the people are amazing and the waves are fun, so why not.” Current runaway QS rankings leader Jesse Mendes (BRA) stayed busy throughout his Round 2 heat, riding 13 waves in the 30 minute encounter. The 23-year-old from Guaruja led throughout but only posted his best two rides, an 8.0 for a pair of vertical backhand bashes and an 8.50 for a high-flying 360 aerial rotation, in the last . . .