Atteridgeville, South Africa – The department of Sport and Recreation and Netball South Africa were up bright and early this morning at the Mbolekwa Sports Centre for the launch of Magnificent Fridays, an initiative initiated by the department of Sport and Recreation and endorsed by the Minister of Sport, Honourable Fikile Mbalula.

Local netball fans with SA celebrities Nthabiseng Mphahlele and Katlego Danke.

The celebrities vs. legends netball challenge in action; NSA team player against SA songstress Ntokozo Masinga, dressed in pink tracksuits.

The day kicked off at 07h00 with a coaching clinic hosted by SPAR Proteas captain Amanda Mynhardt and one of the assistant national squad coaches Prof Chipeya. Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr. Gert Oosthuizen was present to pledge his support, and that of the department, and to encourage all those present “to show their colours” and wear their Magnificent Friday shirts each Friday. Also showing their support were Mzansi celebrities Penny ‘The Phly One’ Lebyane, DJ Zinhle, SA Songstress Ntokozo Masinga, and local TV starts Nthabiseng Mphahele and Katlego Danke, all of whom donned their trainers and hit the courts for the celebrities vs. legends netball challenge that took place around 09h30.


Cape Town, South Africa - The SPAR National Netball Team has continued with their winning streak after defeating Trinidad and Tobago 57-38 last night.

Off to flying start the team sprang into the lead in the first quarter. Playing their top line, the SPAR Proteas raced into the lead with what head coach Elize Kotze stemmed ‘a knowledge of the game’. “Our girls knew what their duties were and where on the court they needed to be. Our defence was strong and our goal average was up.”

In the second quarter the Proteas kept the same pace and so the coaching panel took the opportunity in the third quarter to play the bench. “To play the bottom 20 in an international netball test is a risk, and unfortunately this didn’t pay off, we still need to rely on our more experienced players” said Kotze.

In the last quarter the coaching panel reintroduced the first line which saw the Proteas take the match.

“It is a great opportunity to play Caribbean countries, as they are most likely to have the same playing style as countries like Jamaica” said Kotze. “We have learnt from last night’s game, but are looking at every game as if it’s the first. Each new game brings a new opportunity.”

Tonight’s test will be played at 19h00 at the Western Cape Sport School. Tickets will be sold for R10 at the door.


Cape Town, South Africa - Fresh from their victory in the Tri-nations series against Singapore and
Botswana last weekend, the SPAR South African National Netball Team will play a three-match Test series against Trinidad and Tobago in Cape Town this week.

The series forms part of the Proteas’ preparations for the World Championships, and will give the coaching panel another chance to work on game plans and test different combinations.

Head coach Elize Kotze said she was pleased with the team’s success in the Tri-Nations series, although there were still aspects of play that could be improved. “Our victories were definitely a boost for us, but we didn’t quite meet the targets we had set ourselves. I would have liked a higher goal scoring percentage; “On the other hand, when we last played Botswana, we beat them by five or six, and this time we beat them by 20, 21 goals, so that’s something to be pleased about.

“I was also impressed with the team’s fitness,” she added. “We played Singapore about two and a half hours before we played Botswana in the final, while Botswana had the morning off. But our team showed their fitness levels and coped very well with two matches in such a short space of time.”

She said it was important for the players to get as much game time as possible. “We need international exposure ahead of the World Championships, and a Test series like we’re having against Trinidad and Tobago will be very valuable. “We can carry on trying out different combinations, and it gives the coaching panel another chance to see what works and what doesn’t.”

The Test series against Trinidad and Tobago should prove a tougher task for the SPAR Proteas than Botswana and Singapore, who are ranked 18th and 19th, while Trinidad and Tobago are ranked eighth in the world – two below South Africa.

The three Tests will be played at 19h00 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Western Cape Sport School. Tickets will be sold for R10 at the door.


• 10 000 entries likely for premier Nelson Mandela Bay road race

A new race entry record has been set for Saturday’s SPAR Women’s Challenge to take place in Nelson Mandela Bay.

At 16h00 on Thursday, race organizers confirmed that they had 9750 entries and have broken last year’s record entry figure of 9520.

It’s very exciting to see how the race has grown over the years” said Andre Pienaar of Walmer Athletics Committee. “We planned for 10 000 entries, but, the way the entries are pouring in we could well surpass our expected figure which will be most encouraging for the development and growth of road running and the race in the City, Region and Province.

Those that have not entered the race can still enter at the Registration Area at Kings Beach on Friday from 09h00 to 19h00. The race takes place on Saturday with the 5km starting at 07h15 and the 10km at 08h00.

The first 10 000 entries will receive an official race T-Shirt and Goodie


Nelson Mandela Bay - With defending champion Rene Kalmer preparing to make her international marathon debut in Prague on Sunday, the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at King’s Beach on Saturday is wide open.

Hot favourite to win the 10km race is the 2010 Grand Prix champion, Irvette van Blerk, who won the last three Challenge matches in 2010. Van Blerk finished fourth in the Cape Town Challenge last month, but ascribed her disappointing performance to a bout of flu. However, she showed she was well on the road to recovery by battling her way into the lead group after a slowish start.

Van Blerk will keep a wary eye on Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora and Zintle Xiniwe who finished second and third respectively in Cape Town and could give her a good run for her money. Another runner who could go head to head with Van Blerk is Annerien van Schalkwyk, who came fifth in Cape Town.

The evergreen Sonja Laxton – one of South Africa’s most successful runners of all time – will be setting another record on Saturday to add to her 70 national titles when she takes part in her 70th SPAR Challenge. Laxton, who now runs in the Grandmaster category, was out of action for several months because of a burst appendix followed by back surgery, but said she was excited to be hitting the road again.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Challenge is regarded by many of the runners as the friendliest and the most beautiful of the five Challenge races. There will be extra enjoyment this year, as the race, which is a week later than usual, is taking place on the eve of Mother’s Day. The 5km Fun Run is open to all females over the age of nine, giving mothers and daughters a chance to spend quality time together on the day before Mom’s special day.

Still with mothers in mind, the race’s designated charity is the Yokhuselo Haven, which provides shelter and support for abused women and their children.

Registration for the race will be open from Thursday 5 May 2011 at King’s Beach, and will be open for late entries.


Pretoria, South Africa -The Netherlands proved their dominance on the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Circuit by capturing two titles at the ITF World Team Cup. The Men’s Dutch team joined their women’s team in capturing the ITF World Team Cup wheelchair title in Tshwane on Sunday. The last time Netherlands had won both the men’s and women’s titles was in 2006.
Netherlands, top seeds, beat second seeded France 2-1 in front of a spirited crowd who despite the chilly winter weather came out in force to the University of Pretoria courts.
Dutch number one and world number four, Ronald Vink needed only 62 minutes to beat Michel Jeremiasz 6-1 6-3 to give the Netherlands a head start. Jeremiasz, a former world number one was a surprise nomination for the singles line up as he was only listed at number 4 in the French side coming into the tournament. However, the teams have the right to nominate any player in the team one hour prior to the start of play and nominated the experienced Jeremiasz to take up the French challenge. Jeremiasz admitted he was disappointed after the loss. “We thought playing me in the singles would give us a psychological advantage over the Dutch. I have been injured for the past few years but when I was at the top of my game I beat Ronald a few times but the tactic didn’t work and Ronald was the better player on the day.”
In the second singles, Stephane Houdet of France upset Maikel Scheepers ranked 3 in the world 6-4 6-1 to level the Tie.
It was all down to the doubles and in a nail bighting encounter that took two and a half hours and finished late under lights, the Dutch team of Robin Ammerlaan and Ronald Vink overcame Stephane Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz 4-6 6-4 6-2 to lift the title.
“It’s our first double win since 2006 and I am real proud of my team. The hard work has paid off and gelling as a team and fighting hard together especially in the men’s final was key to our success” said Dutch coach, Mark Kalkman.


Pretoria, South Africa - A dominant Netherlands women’s team won the ITF World Team Cup wheelchair title in Pretoria on Sunday. The top seeds beat second seeded Germany 2-0 to win their 24th World Team Cup title.
Dutch and world number 1, Esther Vergeer extended her record match winning streak to 415 when she outplayed German’s Katharina Kruger 6-2 6-0 in exactly an hour to lift the title for her country. Earlier, Dutch number two, Sharon Walraven overcame a second set scare to beat Sabine Ellerbrock 6-2 7-5 to give the favourites the early lead. After comfortably winning the first set, Walvaren raced to a 5-3 lead in the second set and held three match points. But a strong fight back from Ellerbrock saw the set go to 5-5. Walvaren then regained her composure, winning the next two games and closed out the set and match.
“We are delighted to have won again” said Vergeer who missed lasts year’s event. “I am glad to be back in the team and be part of the spirit and camaraderie that makes this team event so special and different from the individual competition we are so used to play. Having our coach on court is a bonus and yes as a team we are very happy champions today.”


Bloemfontein, South Africa – Western Province captured the under 18 junior tennis inter-provincial tournament which ended Saturday in Bloemfontein. The 14 South African tennis provinces competed for honours. Each team was made up of 4 boys and 4 girls with each match consisting of singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches making up the tie in the round robin format event.
The Western Province team comprising of MC Visser, Keaton Saunders, Dion Roos, Chevaan Davids, Mikayla Morkel-Brink, Chloe Heerden, Krysa Gaweda and Lilianne Ongendangend comfortably outperformed the other 13 provinces, finishing the tournament in first position for the second consecutive year, on 68 points with Gauteng Central coming in second 13 points below on 45.
Fred Kiewitz, coach of Western Province said that the depth of his team made the difference in defending their Inter-Provincial title. “We came to the event a few days early to acclimatize and were confident going in,” said Kiewitz. “We are all ecstatic about our win and it’s good to know that our hard training and preparations have paid off.”
The final standings for the event were:
Western Province 68
Gauteng Central 45
Gauteng North 40
Boland 37

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