Third track and field event to see UJ, Pukke, Kovsies and Tukkies neck-to-neck
If the excitement and adrenalin at this year’s first two events, which took place at NMMU in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg’s Westdene UJ Stadium, are anything to go by, then the town of Stellenbosch is in for an action-packed and highly charged few hours. The third athletics meeting of the Varsity Athletics programme is scheduled to set Stellenbosch alight on Monday, 21st April 2014.
We’re talking about the excitement of US College sports here – SA style, as we watch some of South Africa’s top athletes battle it out for both individual and team honours. While the atmosphere will be crackling with excitement and anticipation, don’t be fooled by the party-like scene which unfolds. This is serious stuff, an event where milliseconds matter and fractions are the only thing separating some of our top athletes. The fact that a miniscule 0.4 second time-delay between lanes when using the old fashioned starter’s gun became important, must surely give you some idea. Come along and end off your Easter weekend with some action packed energy from start to finish as you watch some of our top athletes strive for a new personal best, perhaps a new record, and victory for their team.
This is here and now – the pace is fast – non-stop action is the order of the day. Expect an adrenalin rush from the first event which starts off at 17h45 on the 21st of April, right up to the very last second. The Varsity Sports programme, now well into its second year, has given our up and coming athletes an ideal platform to strut their stuff. “South Africa is a country of sports-lovers,” says Trent Key, Marketing and Sponsorship Executive for Varsity Sports. “Many top promising young athletes are coming through the programme and have excelled in both individual and team events. With the 2016 Olympics squarely in our sites, many of our participating students are already putting their hands up.” Varsity Sports is part of Advent Sport Entertainment & Media (Pty) Ltd. (ASEM), which is headed by SA Rugby legend Francois Pienaar. Pienaar might well have left the corridors of SA Rugby, but his dynamic presence is the driver behind this exciting programme.
Justine Palframan, holder of the 2013 SA Senior 200m champion title and with a personal best of 23.22sec in the 200m, is sure to continue to dazzle and delight fans as she competes in both the 200m and 400m track events. And fellow team mate, Shaun De Jager, 2011 and 2012 SA U23 400m champion, is set to add to the honours. With a personal best performance of 21.36sec and 45.97sec in the 200m and 400m respectively, together with Justine, they are sure to bring even more glory to Matieland.
”The sports-loving public, and the sportsmen and women participating in the six sporting codes on offer, must also give a round of applause to our valued sponsors,” says Duitser Bosman, CEO of Varsity Sports. “The ongoing support and commitment of FNB, Cell C, Famous Brands Group, Samsung, and the Edcon Group, has helped to ensure that our younger athletes are able to participate at the highest level. The support from SuperSport has also given the fans a chance to see our athletes in action by televising the Varsity Sports events every Monday evening on channel 210.”
The Varsity Sports programme kicked off with a very successful first season in 2013 and is now well into its second year. The participating universities will again compete across six sporting codes during 2014. After Stellenbosch, the next athletics events will take place at the University of Pretoria on the 28th April. The men’s hockey will be taking place at four venues from the 3rd May and ending off with the semi-finals and finals taking place at the University of Johannesburg on the 19th May. Venues at Wits University and Stellenbosch will also be used. The men’s hockey will be followed by the football programme from 21st July to 15th September; netball from 15th September to 20th October, with rugby sevens and beach volleyball from 28th to 30th November.
Participating universities across all six sporting codes are: The University of Limpopo (UL); Free State (Kovsies); Pretoria (Tuks); Stellenbosch (Maties); NMMU (Port Elizabeth); North-West University (Pukke); Rhodes University; University of Fort Hare (UFH); Tshwane University of Technology (TUT); Vaal University of Technology; The University of Cape Town (UCT); the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Witwatersrand (Wits) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
“Sport is very important to most, if not all, South Africans,” says Bosman. “In addition to creating an exciting platform for our potential Olympians, the six-code programme serves as a means of integrating sportsmen and women from every background. It’s really warming to see the team spirit, both on and off the track.” The combination of team outfits, well-toned bodies and a very involved audience is a recipe for fun. “So get yourself down to the track, it is an event not to be missed.”