The hi-octane inter-varsity athletics meet planned for North West University – Potchefstroom has been switched to the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The adrenalin packed action starts at 17h45 on Monday 14th April.
Construction of the new tartan track at the PUK Macarthur Stadium in Potchefstroom has been delayed by the persistent rain that has fallen over the region during the past few weeks. While the record rainfall might well have caused a venue change, this won’t put a dampener on what promises to be one of the most exciting Varsity Sports events – one where other records are about to be put to the test.
The UJ event is the second athletics meeting of the popular USA college-style Varsity Sports. Twenty six athletes from universities around the country will be competing for both individual and team honours in a festival style atmosphere. If the success of the first athletics event, which was held at the NMMU grounds in Port Elizabeth, is anything to go by, this promises to be another fun-filled evening during which our up and coming athletes strive for glory in front of the packed stands.
UP-Tuks’ Orazio Cremona set the tone for an exciting evening in PE by breaking the SA student record in the shot put. He was backed up by team mate Chad Herman who defended his javelin title and Duane Boer, who won the long jump event with a jump of 7.40m. The University of Johannesburg (UJ) came out strongly with two impressive wins in the women’s track events to match the powerful athletes from UP-Tuks.Monique Stander, who was adjudged as the top women’s athlete of the night, was simply unbeatable in the 800m. After a fast start, Stander and NMMU’s Annica Coetsee led the field until the bell when Stander pulled away to finished in a new Varsity Sports record time of 2.05.55.
Dewald Stander (UJ) will be out to improve his 2014 performance during Monday’s event. Stander, the SA under-23 champion, has already proven his capability by passing the elusive 55m mark in the discus event – we can look certainly look forward to a good performance from him. His UJ team mate, long jumper Zarck Visser, who was placed 5th in the world in 2013, is now rated 1st in the world. This is an incredible achievement by the young Welkom athlete who holds a personal best of 8.35m.
“It’s also great to see our athletes competing in different codes,” says Trent Key, sports and events manager for Varsity Sports. “Kim-Roche Holmes (UJ), who is known for her netball prowess, will be competing in the javelin event.” Francois Fouche (UJ), an ex Olympian long jump athlete, feels that the UJ team “has a fighting chance of being the best team on the night if our athletes fire on all cylinders.”
The fast pace of the Varsity Sports concept, now well into its successful second year, is a buzz from beginning to end with every minute jammed packed with action. “One can expect nothing less if you put together some top sportsmen and women – add a little music and the cheering of spectators,” says Duitser Bosman, CEO of Varsity Sports.
“Our sponsors have helped us create an ideal opportunity for our young athletes to ready themselves for Olympic glory,” says a justifiably proud Bosman. “The commitment of FNB, Cell C, Famous Brands Group, Samsung, and the Edcon Group to sport in South Africa is making a huge difference. For those who are unable to get to the various venues, events will be televised on SuperSport every Monday evening.” Varsity Sports is part of Advent Sport Entertainment & Media (Pty) Ltd. (ASEM), which is headed by SA rugby legend Francois Pienaar, who is rarely far from a sports field.
Participating universities across all six sporting codes (athletics; hockey; football; netball; rugby sevens and beach volleyball) are: Limpopo; Free State (Kovsies); University of Fort Hare (UFH); Tshwane University of technology (TUT); Vaal University of Technology; The University of Cape Town (UCT); Pretoria (Tuks); Stellenbosch (Maties); NMMU (Port Elizabeth); North-West University; (Pukke); Rhodes University; the University of the Western Cape and Witwatersrand (Wits) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
“The events are short in duration,” says Key “but the memory of an exciting evening will linger for a long time. We don’t often get the chance to watch live performances from our top athletes, these young stars thrive on spectator support and it is indeed a privilege to watch them in action.”