Johannesburg, South Africa - Rene Kalmer has been running in SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races for more than half her life.
She has also been winning Challenge races for many years, notching up her first win at the tender age of 14. In fact, Kalmer has won more SPAR races than anyone else. She has also won the SPAR Grand Prix three times – in 2007, 2009 and 2012, and finished in the top 10 for the first 10 years of the Grand Prix’s existence.

SPAR Women’s Challenge ambassador Rene Kalmer getting ready for a SPAR race at the SPAR Women’s Challenge Pietermaritzburg last month.
Photo credit : Reg Caldecott

So Rene Kalmer is an ideal ambassador for the SPAR Challenge – a position she has held since 2016, when she was out of action because of a long-standing injury and her pregnancy.
“I am very proud to be an ambassador for the SPAR races,” said Kalmer.
“The SPAR races have been part of my life for so long and now that I am a working mom, I feel even closer to the thousands of women who take part,” she said.
“The races are so important. Many women get the running bug after taking part in a SPAR race, and women only races are always great. There is always a great atmosphere and it is specially good for the winner, who is the first person to cross the finish line.”

Kalmer said she was determined to finish in the top 10 in the Johannesburg Challenge at Marks Park on October 7.
“The Johannesburg race has always been my favourite, because of the great vibe and because I am totally committed to the charity associated with it, which is Reach for Recovery, a support group for women with breast cancer.

“The route from Marks Park is very pretty and it is quite challenging. It is relatively flat for the first five kilometres, with lots of twists and turns, and then a steep climb past the Parkhurst golf course.”
Kalmer has been giving back to the race that has been so much a part of her life by mentoring about 20 runners from Vorentoe Hoerskool in Auckland Park.
“I am really enjoying my interaction with these girls,” said Kalmer.

“I have enjoyed watching them develop and gain confidence and we have had a lot of fun together. We had so many when we went to the Pretoria Challenge that I had to call on my husband for help so that we could transport everyone. “Afterwards, we all went for a burger and everyone was able to share their experiences and I was able to bond with them. Most of them are boarders, so running helps them to get away from school for a while.”


New York, USA – The last South African left in the US Open, Philip Henning lost in round two of the Junior Championships in New York late Tuesday.

Philip Henning
Photo credit: BLD Communications

Henning, the 17-year-old Grey College Bloemfontein learner is the country’s highest ranked world junior. He did himself and his country proud by putting on a brave fight against the world’s number one junior player Chun Hsin Tseng of Chinese Taipei losing in three sets. Tseng beat Henning 5-7 6-1 6-0.

In hot and humid conditions, Henning lost serve twice and found himself 0-5 down in the opening set. The South African regrouped and lifted his game, broke back and won four games in a row to trail 4-5. The extreme heat policy was then called and the players had to leave court. After 2 hrs 30 minutes the player returned to court and Henning broke serve again and won three games in a row to take the opening set 7-5.

But Tseng then stormed back to win the match in the second and the deciding sets 6-1, 6-0.

Despite the score line, Tseng was made to work in the second set, facing break points in nearly every one of his service games.

After winning the boys singles’ titles at the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this season, Tseng is bidding to become the first player to win three junior grand slam tournaments in one year since Gael Monfils in 2004.

MC Olivier, coach of Philip Henning said that Tseng played the big points well. “The biggest difference was the big points. Tseng is a great player and although Philip created opportunities, he just wasn’t able to capitalize on them. I am really proud of Philip. He fought hard and proved he can compete with the best in the world.”

Henning said it was a tough match. “I didn’t start well, honestly I was nervous and when I was 0-5 down I found my rhythm and played well. I was just let down a bit by my first serve percentage which I need to improve, but Tseng is a great player and although I only won one game in the last two sets, I had break point opportunities, lots of chances and just never capitalised on them. Tseng is the best junior player on the planet, I respect him enormously but was proud to have given him a good fight.”

Earlier Henning also lost in the doubles with his partner, Dostanbek Tashbulatov of Kazakhstan. They went down in straight sets 3-6 4-6 to French youngsters, Arthur Cazaux and Harold Mayot.



Centurion, South Africa – Tennis South Africa’s Development Manager Mpho Makhoba was the big winner this weekend scooping two awards at the 13th annual gsport Awards on Friday evening at the Wanderers Club in Illovo and one accolade at the Gauteng Sports Awards held at the Silverstar Casino in Mogale City on Sunday.

Mpho Makhoba wins the 2018 gsport Special Recognition Award, presented by 2010 gsport Hall of Famer, Motlatsi Keikabile, at the 2018 gsport Awards, hosted at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg on Friday 31 August, 2018 Makhoba was a double winner on the night, also walking away with the 2018 Special Recognition Award, following her unequaled spirit of volunteerism which is steadily building development of South African tennis.
Photo credit: Anouschka Swart / gsport

The gsport awards recognize and celebrate dedicated and record-breaking efforts of women in the country in various sporting codes.
Makhoba took home two awards, Volunteer of the Year and Special Recognition Award for her unequaled spirit and tireless work which is steadily building development of South African tennis.
The Attredgeville native Makhoba was also honoured at the 8th annual Gauteng Sports Awards in Mogale City receiving the Community Based Sport & Recreation of the Year award. The awards event once again lived up to its reputation of being one of the greatest and glitzy sporting events hosted in the Province. It brought together stars from across Gauteng as guests of MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Ms. Faith Mazibuko.
“This has been one of the best weekends I have had – what a great honor!” said Makhoba.
“You know, sometimes we do things just to change the world of sport, give a child an opportunity to excel at a sport and make the world a much better place, we do this not even realizing that someone out there see what we are doing and appreciate our efforts but gsport and Gauteng Sport Department always reminds us that our work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Makhoba said her love for the game has enabled her to create a successful career out of the sport.
“I have a great passion and love for what I do, putting a smile on these kids fulfills my heart in so many ways. A big thank you to Kass Naidoo and her team from gsport, Hon. Gauteng MEC of Sport Ms. Faith Mazibuko for the recognition and all the sponsors who made these events possible. I would also like to thank Tennis South Africa (TSA) for their great contributions to my tennis career and our sponsors; Growthpoint, Whiphold and SRSA for supporting us,” added Makhoba.
She is the first female tennis technical official in Africa to have been awarded the coveted ITF Silver Badge, and no stranger to winning awards, last year she was crowned the Woman of the year at this longest running women’s sport awards and also took home Technical Official of the Year at the Gauteng Sports Awards.
-Ends –


Johannesburg, South Africa – Kevin Anderson is out of the US Open. The tall South African lost in round 4 to Dominic Thiem on Sunday afternoon. But it is not all bad news for South Africa as Philip Henning won through to round 2 in the US Open Juniors.

Fifth seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa in action on Sunday in his fourth round match against Austrian ninth seed, Dominic Thiem. Thiem upset Anderson 7-5 6-2 7-6 (2) to advance to the quarter finals.

South Africa’s highest world ranked junior (50) Philip Henning of Bloemfontein in action in round 1 of the Junior Boys US Open singles in New York City on Sunday. Unseeded Henning beat Nicolas Alvarez Verona of Spain 6-4 6-4 and will now play top seeded Chun Tsing Tseng of Taiwan in round two.

Photo Credit: BLD Communications

Dominic Thiem stretched 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson far and wide to achieve a pair of firsts at the US Open.
The ninth-seeded Thiem beat Anderson for the first time on hard courts, 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (2), to make his first Grand Slam quarterfinal outside of Roland-Garros.
Thiem had never passed the fourth round in Flushing, falling three times in the past four years. But the 24-year-old Austrian served nearly perfectly and gave the 6-foot-8-inch South African little time to unleash his mammoth groundstrokes.
“It was one of my best matches ever,” Thiem said.
Anderson won the first six of their head-to-head meetings, all on hard courts. But Thiem won in straight sets, earlier this year, on the quick-moving clay in Madrid.
On Sunday, he played as if they were on a clay court at times and flipped the script against Anderson. Thiem, not Anderson, dominated on serve, winning 91 percent of his first-serve points (41/45) and never facing a break point. His heavy groundstrokes and soft drop shots forced Anderson to retrieve from side-to-side, back-to-front.
Anderson served and volleyed, and he came to net 48 times, trying to take advantage of Thiem’s deep return position – he stood nearly next to the line judges and with his back against the Chase sign in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
But the fifth-seeded South African might have been feeling the effects of his earlier matches. He had already spent nearly 10 hours on-court, battling cramps and beating Ryan Harrison in five sets during his opener, and on Friday, playing another three hours, 43 minutes against No. 28 seed Denis Shapovalov.
“For sure, also, this court helped me,” Thiem said. “It’s very, very big. I could go far back at the return, which helped me, which is a little bit like on clay, and this was also a little bit of an advantage today.”
Thiem broke in the 11th game of the opener, for the first break of the match and served out the set. Anderson was then broken to love to start the second and Thiem rolled from there. After the second set, the South African went to the locker room for more than eight minutes, and he regrouped to erase a break point in the seventh game and force a tiebreaker. But Thiem, on his first match point, chased down an Anderson volley for a backhand slice winner, his 41st of the day.
Out on court 10, South Africa’s highest world ranked junior (50), Philip Henning, of Bloemfontein impressed with a solid 6-4 6-4 victory over Nicolas Alvrez Verona of Spain. Alvrez Verona is ranked 17 places higher than Henning on the world rankings at 33.
In a match that lasted 1hr17 minutes, Henning was always in control and said he felt happy the way he played. “I felt good on court today and was very pleased with the way I played. The win was important to me, especially being the first round, it always gives great satisfaction to get through the first match.”
Henning broke serve early in the opening set to lead 2-1. Alvrez Verona broke back in the eighth game to level the set at 4-4. An aggressive Henning then immediately broke back to lead 5-4 and held serve to take the opening set 6-4.
The second set went with serve until the ninth game when Henning broke serve and then held to take the set and match.
Up next for Henning in round two is top seed Chun Tsing Tseng of Taiwan.


Pretoria, South Africa - Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) ran a superb race to clinch her first SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge title on Saturday when she won the Pretoria race at Supersport Park in a fast time of 33.56 minutes.
Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) was second, in 34.24 minutes and defending Grand Prix title holder, Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) was third, in 34.47.
Three times Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl stunned everyone by finishing fourth in 34.56 minutes, exactly eight weeks after the birth of her second son.
A group of six runners , including Xaba, Nyahora, Molotsane, van Zyl, Susy Chemaimak (Nedbank) and Rudo Mhonderwa (Nedbank), ran in a bunch for the first six kilometres before Xaba and Molotsane broke away and ran side by side for the next two kilometres.

The top 3 finishers: Rutendo Nyahora (2nd), Glenrose Xaba (Winner) and Kesa Molotsane during the Spar Women’s Challenge at SuperSport Park on August 04, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images)

Photo Credit : Reg Caldecott

Xaba took the lead at eight kilometres, putting some distance between herself and the rest of the pack. Van Zyl was in third position for much of the race, but gradually fell back, while Nyahora steamed past Molotsane.
Xaba finished second in the first three races, in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban, and was thrilled to achieve her first SPAR Challenge win.
“I came into the race with a lot of confidence after winning the Totalsports 10km last month,” said Xaba.
“I decided I was going to run my own race and run it fast. I wasn’t too worried about Kesa (Molotsane) because I knew I was faster on the hills than she is, and this is quite a hilly course.”
Nyahora said she had a good race and was pleased to be running well again after a hamstring injury,
“Deep down, I really wanted to win. I have won this race twice. It’s a tough course, but I like it because I am a tough athlete.”
She said she was also very happy that her teammate, Van Zyl, was back in action.
“Irvette is a great competitor and it was wonderful to have her back in the leading pack,”
Molotsane said she was happy with her top three finish.
“I haven’t been very well recently, so I am very pleased to be back,” she said
‘I tried very hard to stay with Glenrose, but she was just too strong today. I am very happy for her because winning will do a lot for her career. I will do my best in the last two races to earn enough points to defend my Grand Prix title.”
“I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t finish in the top three, because it’s always tough to finish fourth,” said Van Zyl.
“But I am very happy to be running competitively again. I was very fit before the baby arrived – I was planning to run a 10km race the day he was born, but then my waters broke. I had a caesar, so I only started running again three weeks ago, but I am very hungry to win. It felt good to be back today – especially 10kgs lighter.”
Twenty-five-thousand-740 runners took part in the 10km race and the 5km Fun Run, which was run in warm and windy conditions.

Results of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge run at Supersport Park on Saturday afternoon

Senior: 1. Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) 33.56; 2. Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank) 34.24; 3. Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) 34.47; 4. Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) 34.56; 5. Susy Chemaimak (Nedbank0 35.34; 6. Rudo Mhonderwa (Nedbank) 36.17; 7. Cornelia Joubert (Boxer) 36.29; 8. Caroline Mhondu (Maxed Elite) 36.40; 9. Mapaseka Makhanya (Massmart) 36.43; 10. Portia Ngwenya (Nedbank) 36.46

40-49: 1. Charne Bosman (Nedbank) 37.47; 2. Bulelwa Simae (Nedbank) 39.58; 3. Jacinta Murugu (Nedbank 40.030

50-59: 1. Grace de Oliveira (KPMG) 44.25; 2. Dawn James (Dolphin Coast) 47.49; 3. Amsa Strydom (51.21)

60-69: 1. Margie Saunders (Nedbank) 44.56; 2. Erica Geldenhuys 51.01; 3. Francis van Blerk 53.3

70+: Annelie Greyvenstein (Irene) 57.25; 2. Deirdre Larkin (Randburg Harriers) 70.07; 3. Marie van Dyk (Irene) 83.57

Juniors: 1. Liza Kellerman (UJ) 39.27; 2. Shanley Koekemoer (KPMG) 38.55; 3. Chantell Bester (Monnas) 40.54

View Our Archives

View our categories

Subscribe via RSS