SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE AT SPAR WOMEN’S CHALLENGE

Johannesburg, South Africa - Great news for fans of the trendy pop group Denim. After a four year wait, their new album “Crazy Love” is finally here … and even better news is that Denim will be performing live at the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Old Parktonians in Randburg on Sunday October 9.

Race Day entertainers ‘Denim’ at the launch of the SPAR Women’s Joburg Challenge. From left: SPAR Marketing Director Mark Robinson, Baldez Manye (Denim), SA runner Maxine Heine-Wacker and Bo Seritsane (Denim).
Picture by: Reg Caldecott

The guys from Denim, widely regarded as one of South Africa’s top live acts, believe this album is their very best, and that the four year wait has been worthwhile. “We love what we do, and we wanted to be sure we didn’t rush our inspiration and the direction of the album,” they explained on their blog. “We have taken our time and have chosen the best 24 tracks (20 originals and four covers) to give our fans a journey through our growth and experiences in the past four years.”

The album covers a wide range from cutting edge pop/dance tracks, a bit of hip-hop and R & B, and some old school remixes – and you will experience many of these numbers if you take part in the SPAR Challenge. When asked what they were looking forward to on race day, the band commented; “We as DENIM are very excited and honoured to be a part of this prestigious and amazing event.. We look forward to adding our magic touch to what will already be an amazing experience and we promise all the athletes and supporters a great and electrifying performance. We look forward to performing material from our brand new album exclusively. Come have fun with us DENIM style SPAR style.”

Denim is a group that offers something for everyone, and that is what Race Day will be like as well. There is a kiddie’s corner, where kiddies will be entertained. There is plenty of entertainment for the small fry, with clowns, jumping castles, face painting and games. And for those who simply can’t bear the thought of missing out on the Rugby World Cup, the good news is that the Old Parktonians Sports Club will be showing the quarter finals that will be played that day – which may feature South Africa.

For those who think they might be a little ‘peckish’ after their time on the road, there will be plenty of food stalls selling a variety of foods and drinks. So there is every reason to take part in the SPAR Challenge on October 9. For those who don’t want to tackle 10kms, there is also a 5km Fun Run, and walkers are very welcome to take part in both races.

There’s not long to go before the race, so enter now. Online entries have been extended until the 29th September so visit www.spar.co.za today! Entries will also be available on race day between 06h00 and 07h45.


GRANDIN WINS HER MAIDEN DOUBLES CROWN

South African doubles specialist, Natalie Grandin won her maiden WTA Tile at the Hansol Korea Open in Seoul, South Korea on Sunday.

Hansol Korea Open doubles champions Natalie Grandin of South Africa (Left) and Vladimira Uhlirova of The Czech Republic (right) show off their trophies.
Picture by: Korea Tennis Federation

In an all-Top 2 doubles final, No 1 seeds Natalie Grandin and her Czech Republic partner Vladimira Uhlirova beat No 2 seeds Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) and Vera Dushevina (RUS), 7-6(5) 6-4. It was a milestone for the 30-year-old Grandin, who collected her first WTA title. She had been 0-10 in WTA doubles finals beforehand.

It turned out to be a bumper tennis weekend for South Africa, Grandin was joined by compatriot Chani Scheepers on the winning podium when Scheepers won her first WTA Title winning the singles crown on Saturday at the Wanlima Guangzhou International Women’s Open in Guangzhou, China

“I am very happy to win my first WTA Tour doubles title. I have worked long and hard for this moment. Vladimira and I have had a good year so far and have enjoyed playing together. We complement each other’s games well on the doubles court which is a big strength of ours. It has been a good week for South African woman’s tennis with both Chani and I winning our first titles. So hopefully we can continue this run” said Grandin.


CHANI SCHEEPERS CHAMPION AT WANLIMA GUANGZHOU INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S OPEN

Former world No 3 Amanda Coetzer has praised current South African No 1 Chani Scheepers for winning her maiden WTA title in China on Saturday.

Wanlima Guangzhou International Women’s Open Champion Chani Scheepers shows off her trophy.
Pictures by: Wanlima Guangzhou Women’s Open

Chani Scheepers ended an eight year drought for South Africa as she won the Wanlima Guangzhou International Women’s Open in Guangzhou, China beating Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-2. Scheepers had not been beyond the quarterfinals of any WTA tournament before Guangzhou.

The 27-year-old seventh seed is the first South African to win a WTA trophy since Amanda Coetzer won Acapulco in 2003

“My congratulations go out to Chani on winning her first tile. She has proved to us all and herself her capabilities and now she has to prove to us all and herself that she can consistently compete at the top and win more titles. I have always believed Chani has these capabilities and have watched here progress with interest. I wish her all the best going forward and congratulate her on this important breakthrough. It’s great that a South African has once again taken the podium on the WTA Tour” said Coetzer from Los Angeles.

Scheepers had her easiest match of the week in disposing of the eighth seed Rybarikova in the final.

Prior to that she had battled through each round with three set victories including having to fight back from 4-1 down in the deciding set to beat top seed Maria Kirilenko in the semifinal. Scheepers also saved match point in her second round match against Hsieh Su-We

Scheepers, who could well improve on her highest ever ranking of 65 in May this year when the new rankings are released on Monday, took just under an hour-and-a-half in beating her under-par opponent, who had won her previous two WTA finals.

All of my other matches were really tough, but today was the day everything seemed to click,” Scheepers said. “I thought I was hitting my groundstrokes well today. I was really consistent and tried to move her around. I didn’t give her a lot of mistakes. I played well. I don’t remember much about the match point. I was so in the moment. I know it was a long point, but it seemed so long ago. Every match before the final was difficult. It seemed like I was fighting every match and all of them were hard in their own way.”

“I’m really happy to have won my first WTA Tournament. It meant even more, because every match on route to the final I had to fight back from behind to win it. I will definitely take a lot of confidence out of this tournament. Nothing changes next week though, I will still go out and compete for every point win or lose. I’m also really excited at this stage of my life to find out what I am truly capable of.”

Scheepers said to emulate Coetzer was really special. “The title means a lot to me because I’ve worked so hard, to finally win one is really rewarding.” she said “Amanda has always been a player I have looked up to. In my junior days when I lived in Harrismith in my native Free State, Amanda invited and sponsored Karin Coetzee and Noleen Uys, mother of former Pro Player Rene Uys, to go with me on a trip to the USA where I went to train at her training base, the Dennis vd Meer Academy. I was 12 and will never forget the influence that had on my young career.”

Being the first since Amanda Coetzer is the cherry on the cake.”


KNIVES OUT FOR NSA ELECTIONS

South Africa - Campaigning for the Netball South Africa (NSA) executive committee elections on October 22 is heating up, with an intense battle under way for the three strategic positions of President, Vice President and Director of Selection.

Incumbent president Mimi Mthethwa and vice president Blanche de la Guerre are both being challenged by current Director of Selection Nompumelelo (Mpumi) Javu of the Eastern Cape, and Kgapane Rrabotho vice president of Gauteng Central. There are five candidates for the influential position of Director of Selection. The other candidates are current director Javu, Rrabotho, Sandra Khati, Christine du Preez and former national coach Louise du Plessis.

Mthethwa was philosophical about the campaigning that is under way. “If people think I have done a good job for netball, I believe they will vote for me,” she said. “But it is a democratic organisation, and if I am voted out, so be it.”

Mthethwa said she was standing for re-election because a number of regions have approached her to stand for president again and there are several projects that she would like to conclude within netball before retiring from NSA. “The most important of these is our efforts to make netball a professional sport in South Africa,” said Mthethwa. “It has long been one of our dreams to put netball on a par with sports like soccer, rugby and cricket. We took an important step towards that with the launch of the Netball Grand Series (NGS) earlier this year. I believe that if we are able to grow that the way we want to in the next couple of years, we will be making good progress towards achieving our goal,” she said.

“The Proteas put on a very good performance at the world championships in Singapore earlier this year, and showed that netball should be taken seriously by government and by sponsors.”

Two candidates, Anneline Lewis of Gauteng West and Dude Msane of Gauteng Vaal, are running for Director of Coaching, where there is a vacancy after the retirement of Bennie Saayman, while the Director of Umpires, Dr Hannette Brewer, is being challenged by Joey Schoeman who was the NSG Competition Referee this year. Mami Diale, the current Director Demarcation is opposed by Claudine Claassen Gauteng North Vice President.

Ends


CELEBRITIES ADD GLAMOUR TO SPAR WOMEN’S CHALLENGE

Johannesburg, South Africa - Some well-known personalities will be adding a touch of glamour to the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Old Parktonians on Sunday October 9.

From left: Former Miss South Africa Nicole Flint, top runner Irvette Van Blerk, SPAR Proteas Captain Amanda Mynhardt, top runner Maxine Heine-Wacker, and 5fm DJ and stylista Poppy Ntshongwana.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott

Radio and television personality Carol Manana, award winning news anchor Romy Titus, fashionista DJ, adventure-loving Poppy Ntshongwana and two former holders of the Miss South Africa title, Nicole Flint and Vanessa Carreira-Coutroulis, are joining forces at the Challenge to create greater awareness of the race’s designated charity, Reach for Recovery.

The five glamour girls will run the race as a relay, completing two kilometres each.
In true Olympic style, they will carry a torch, which will be passed from hand to hand. The changeovers will take place at watering points, giving members of the public a chance to interact with them.

Award-winning “Simply Carol” Carol Manana became known to millions of viewers around the world when she anchored the draw for the 2010 World Cup. The Supersport anchor is familiar with most sports and has covered two Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Commonwealth Games in Athens and the Fifa World Cup in Germany in 2006.

Romy Titus, who was named Best News Anchor at the SABC Awards in 2008, has also covered many sports events, both as a reporter and as MC. The dynamic and experienced anchor is currently working with Supersport International.

Popular 5fm DJ Poppy Ntshongwana will probably regard a two-kilometre run as little more than a walk in the park, after diving with sharks, skiing and surfing. She has also completed the Cape Argus Cycle Tour – and she did all these things with such style that she won the 2010 Style Award for Most innovative Style.

Vanessa Carreira-Coutroulis and Nicole Flint have not allowed the grass to grow under their feet since relinquishing their Miss South Africa title in 2001 and 2009 respectively. Vanessa is much in demand as a motivational speaker and MC, has done television work, hosted a number of events through her own events company and was named one of UNISA’s goodwill ambassadors along with Yvonne Chaka-Chaka and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Nicole, who forms part of the breakfast show on Jacaranda 94.2, is a part time television presenter, MC and model. She is also a bit of a sports junkie and recently completed the 2011 Sun City to Table Bay Charity Cycle Tour and is well-known for her work on raising funds for housing and the fight against crime. Nicole has also just been chosen to co-present The Tropika Island of Treasure season 4 in Cancun Mexico.

The five celebrities will seek sponsorship for their two kilometres, raising money for their own charity or for Reach for Recovery, making their participation in the race even more meaningful. Romy Titus has chosen to raise funds for Babies Behind Bars, a charity of which she is a founder that reaches out to babies whose mothers are imprisoned.

The SPAR South African netball captain Amanda Mynhardt and other members of the national team that performed so well at the World Netball Championships in Singapore earlier this year will run alongside the celebrities as their “Guard of Honour”, and will carry the torch for them if they get tired during their leg of the race. “I’m looking forward to an amazing day” says Mynhardt. “Being a Guard of Honour to our local celebrities, and running together with all the beautiful women in our country is a huge privilege. I can’t wait for the SPAR Women’s Challenge!”

There are only a few weeks left before the race, but there is still time to enter and have the chance to rub shoulders with some of South Africa’s most stylish celebrities. Pre-entries close on the 24th September. Entry forms are available from all SPAR, KWIKSPAR and SUPERSPAR stores or online at www.spar.co.za


CROATIA SEE OFF CRIPPLED SA’S WORLD GROUP BID

Croatia won their Davis Cup promotion/relegation play-off against South Africa at the North West University Fanie du Toit Sports Stadium, Potchefstroom, on Sunday, after going up 3-1 following Marin Cilic’s 6-4 6-2 6-4 straight-sets win over Rik de Voest in the day’s opening Tie.

In Sunday’s final rubber, Croatia wrapped up the Tie when Nikola Mektic disposed of South Africa’s Raven Klaasen 7-6 (2) 6-1 to wrap up a great 4-1 conquest for the Eastern Europeans.

De Voest was South Africa’s surprise entrant in the opening reverse singles rubber after No 1 Kevin Anderson withdrew from the match at the start of the day with an injured hip. Anderson was South Africa’s only real chance of forcing a result after he raised the country’s hopes with a 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6 (5) win over Ivan Dodig on Friday. But, thereafter South Africa suffered a string of setbacks that wiped out their challenge completely. First Izak van der Merwe was laid low by a wrist injury which forced him to retire after trailing 6-0 6-0 against Cilic, and then on Saturday Anderson was ruled out of the doubles and reserve Raven Klaasen was called up.

Try as they might, the De Voest – Klaasen pairing didn’t do their chances of winning any good when they only converted one of 13 break points on offer against Cilic and Dodig. They forced an extra set, but, ultimately went down to Cilic and Dodig, who closed out 6-2 6-4 3-6 6-1 winners, to give Croatia a morale-boosting lead in the Tie for the first time. De Voest’s call-up on Sunday morning didn’t inspire confidence because the 133-world ranked player had not played much of late because of a finger injury sustained at the Farmer’s Classic in Los Angeles last month. At this stage, De Voest’s fitness levels are still way off the desired mark.

Anderson said it was hugely disappointing that he couldn’t continue South Africa’s challenge. “I woke up on Sunday thinking I could play, but, the hip was still pretty sore and I was struggling (to move).” Anderson said after watching De Voest in action. “These things happen in sport, especially in tennis. I went out there on Friday and played my best tennis, but, then I tweaked my hip pretty badly. I took a break from the doubles on Saturday, thinking that the rest will help me to get back on Sunday, but, it didn’t work out.”

On Sunday, Cilic rounded off South Africa’s demise with a win over De Voest, but not before the South Africa halted his victory charge with a brave performance. De Voest’s fighting qualities came to the fore towards the end of the first set, prompting the SA camp to ponder whether their charge could do the impossible. Cilic ended the first-set battle in just under an hour. However, in the second set Cilic showed why he is ranked 26th in the world and wore down De Voest’s resolve with solid groundstrokes from the comfort of the baseline. And on the odd occasion when he closed in on the net, his volleys left De Voest stranded, in their 33-minute second-set duel. De Voest offered more stubborn resistance in the third and managed a service break in the fifth, but Cilic bounced back in the next game to keep his matchwinning aspirations on track before he ran out a deserving 6-4 6-2 6-4 winner.

Afterwards, De Voest said playing without Anderson meant that the country’s Davis Cup hopes were dashed. “When you’re playing in the World Group you’ll see the country rely on their top-ranked player and that player is very important for the team’s success,” said De Voest. “I was just not good enough today and Cilic came up with some great shots. It was very difficult without Anderson, even though we enjoyed home ground advantage and we were able to feed off the crowd. We can’t always rely on one player and to play in the World Group the team needs to have depth.”

Cilic said the Croatian side was a young one and the win was good for the future of tennis in their country. “This is a very young team, and since we are all very good friends, we can stay together for a few years,” said Cilic. “With this win we can now look to the future.”

SA captain John-Laffnie de Jager said it was devastating losing two (Anderson and Van der Merwe) top players. “Obviously it’s hurting and it’s disappointing in the sense that we worked so hard to win this Tie,” said De Jager. “We’ve come so close now for three years running and we must not give up now. But, from the time we lost Van der Merwe we were on the back foot and never had a chance to recover because then Anderson was out.”

RESULTS – 18 September 2011
Marin Cilic (CRO) b. Rik de Voest 6-4 6-2 6-4
Nikola Mektic (CRO) b. Raven Klaasen (RSA) 7 (7) – 6 (2) 6-1
Croatia b. South Africa 4 - 1


ANDERSON SURVIVES A SIZZLER TO GIVE SA A WINNING START

Potchefstroom, South Africa - Kevin Anderson made heavy weather of defeating a tough-as-teak opponent in Croatia’s Ivan Dodig who briefly threatened a fight-back before he was subdued in the fourth set when the SA No 1 signed off with a 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6 (5) win in the opening rubber of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas promotion/relegation play-off on the hardcourts at the Fanie du Toit Sports Stadium, Potchefstroom, South Africa, on Friday.

Any other result would have proved disastrous for South Africa’s promotion hopes, as their Europe/Africa Group 1 team clashed with the World Group outfit on the opening day of the three-day clash.

The SA No1 Anderson needed no time to feel out the conditions and 38 minutes later he disposed of Dodig’s opening-set challenge. Dodig really battled with Anderson’s booming serve which helped the South African to ease into his service games. Anderson grew in confidence as Dodig absorbed his bombardment and he didn’t look like recovering after his setback in the 6th game.

Dodig looked resigned to his fate as the first set wound its course, but, he came back at the start of the second with a far more determined effort, which forced Anderson, wearing a knee guard, to pull out all the stops. Again, a lone break of serve, this time in the eighth, proved his undoing as Anderson moved on to 6-3 6-4 advance.

The 2-0 cushion would have proved useful for the home boy Anderson as he looked to close out the match in this best-of-five-sets encounter. But, Dodig dug deep into his reserves of fighting spirit as the turned the match on its head when he took a 3-0 lead in the third set, threatening a fight-back of massive proportions.

Anderson didn’t do his cause much good as he made numerous unforced errors on his forehand and Dodig bided his time with a workmanlike performance before winning the third 6-3, and Croatia’s fightback remained on course.

The fourth set turned out to be the ‘battle of the serve’ and in the end Anderson prevailed in the Tie-break 7-5 after Dodig fired his return of serve into the net off the final serve of the match.

There was great allround relief in the SA camp as Anderson avoided the a likely fifth set, more so as the Croatian seemed to grow stronger as the match wore on in sweltering conditions.


STALEMATE AS SOUTH AFRICA, CROATIA EACH EKE OUTWIN

The first day dished up its fair share of excitement, tension and finally anti-climax as the minnows from Europe/Africa Group 1, South Africa, clashed with the World Group outfit and the 2005 World Champions, Croatia, at sweltering Potchefstroom, in South Africa, on Friday.

SA No 1 Kevin Anderson provided the excitement at the start by taking an early 2-0 set lead, but, he then dropped a set to make for a very tense finish before he signed off with a 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6 (5) win in the opening rubber of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas promotion/relegation play-off on the hardcourts at the Fanie du Toit Sports Stadium.

And South Africa were still savouring Anderson’s conquest, when the next match between Izak van der Merwe and Marin Cilic came to an abrupt end after only 51 minutes. Van der Merwe was overcome by pain in the match after losing the opening two sets 6-0 6-0, he threw in the towel, which meant the day ended with an overall 1-all rubber score line.

The SA No 2 Van der Merwe said afterwards that he woke up with a pain in his wrist, earlier in the day. “This wrist pain is not something that I experienced before and I have no idea where it comes from,” said Van Der Merwe. “I saw the doctor earlier on and I had pain-killers. Before the match I thought I could manage, but once we started playing it became painful. I couldn’t carry on any longer and I don’t know what’s my situation is in respect of playing on Sunday in the reverse singles.”

John-Laffnie de Jager, SA’s captain, said Van der Merwe’s demise was a massive setback in the context of the state of the rubber when he started playing. “We won the first match, and that gave us such a sense of feeling good because Izak (Van der Merwe) was in top form throughout the week and we were expecting great things from him,” said De Jager. “But these things happen in sport, and we have to move on. This situation brings Rik (De Voest) into the picture and he does have Davis Cup experience, so all is not lost.”

Earlier, Anderson made heavy weather of defeating a tough-as-teak opponent in Croatia’s Ivan Dodig who briefly threatened a fight-back before he was subdued in the fourth set. Any other result would have proved disastrous for South Africa’s promotion hopes, as their Europe/Africa Group 1 team clashed with the World Group outfit on the opening day of the three-day clash.

Anderson needed no time to feel out the conditions and 38 minutes later he disposed of Dodig’s opening-set challenge. Dodig really battled with Anderson’s booming serve which helped the South African to ease into his service games. Anderson grew in confidence as Dodig absorbed his bombardment and he didn’t look like recovering after his setback in the 6th game.

Dodig looked resigned to his fate as the first set wound its course, but, he came back at the start of the second with a far more determined effort, which forced Anderson, wearing a knee guard, to pull out all the stops. Again, a lone break of serve, this time in the eighth, proved his undoing as Anderson moved on to 6-3 6-4 advance.

The 2-0 cushion would have proved useful for the home boy Anderson as he looked to close out the match in this best-of-five-sets encounter. But Dodig dug deep into his reserves of fighting spirit as the turned the match on its head when he took a 3-0 lead in the third set, threatening a fight-back of massive proportions.

Anderson didn’t do his cause much good as he made numerous unforced errors on his forehand and Dodig bided his time with a workmanlike performance before winning the third 6-3, and Croatia’s fightback remained on course. The fourth set turned out to be the ‘battle of the serve’ and in the end Anderson prevailed in the tie-break 7-5 after Dodig fired his return of serve into the net off the final serve of the match.

There was great allround relief in the SA camp as Anderson avoided the a likely fifth set, more so as the Croatian seemed to grow stronger as the match wore on in sweltering conditions. Afterwards, Dodig said he took too long to find his rhythm and paid the price. “I was a little bit too slow at the start because I was battling to find my rhythm,” said Dodig. “And then I took too long to find my rhythm but he was better than me today, and deserved to win.

I didn’t give up at any stage and even at two sets I was prepared to fight right to the end. That’s the way I am.”

On Saturday, the doubles match will be played, which means one team will take the lead after day 2.


SPAR NETBALL PROTEAS SEND MESSAGE OF SUPPORT TO DAVIS CUP TEAM

Potchefstroom, South Africa – SPAR Protea Netball captain Amanda Mynhardt would like to wish the South African Davis Cup team all the best for their all-important Tie vs Croatia taking place in Potchefstroom this weekend. “On behalf of the Protea Netball team, I would like to wish Team SA all the best of luck for the Davis Cup. Go out fighting boys and make us proud. We will be following and supporting you all the way.”

The Davis Cup World Group playoff takes place from the 16th – 18th September at the North West University Tennis Stadium in Potchefstroom. South Africa play Croatia in the three day Tie. The winner of the Tie is promoted to the World Group in 2012.


SPAR NETBAL PROTEAS STUUR BOODSKAP VAN ONDERSTEUNING AAN DAVIS CUP SPAN

Potchefstroom, Suid-Afrika - SPAR Protea Netbal se kaptein, Amanda Mynhardt wil graag aan die Suid-Afrikaanse Davis Cup span al die beste toe wens vir die belangrikste wedstryd teen Kroasië in Potchefstroom hierdie naweek. “Baie sterkte vir die SA span wat aan die Davis Cup deelneem. Gaan groot en maak ons trots. Die SPAR Protea netbal span hou julle dop en ondersteun julle al die pad.”

Die Davis Cup Wêreld Groep vind plaas vanaf die 16de - 18de September by die Noordwes Universiteit Tennis-stadion te Potchefstroom. Suid-Afrika speel teen Kroasië gedurende die drie wedstryd dae. Die wenner van die Tie word bevorder tot die Wêreldbeker-groep in 2012.


SOUTH AFRICAN DAVIS CUP TEAM TAKE TIME OUT FOR AUTOGRAPH SESSION

SA Davis Cup Team signing autographs ahead of the Davis Cup Tie between SA and Croatia at Mooi Rivier Mall in Potchefstroom, from right, Captain, John Laffnie De Jager and players Izak van de Merwe, Kevin Anderson and Rik De Voest.
Picture by: The BLD Group

SA Davis Cup Team player, Rik De Voest with some kids at the Autograph session held at Mooi River Mall ahead of the Davis Cup Tie between SA and Croatia.
Picture by: The BLD Group


TAKE THE CHALLENGE AND HELP WOMEN FIGHT THE BATTLE

Johannesburg, South Africa - Breast cancer is one of the most common diseases facing women. It knows no boundaries and is no respecter of social status, wealth, physical fitness or education.

Some of the best known breast cancer conquerors are Sibongile Khumalo, Sheryl Crow, Cynthia Nixon, Christina Applegate, Kylie Minogue, Melissa Etheridge and Martina Navratilova, who all put up a brave and public battle against the disease.

But breast cancer is no longer necessarily a death sentence. Early detection and treatment can ensure that the patient lives a long and healthy life after the initial diagnosis. Even so, the words strike fear in the heart of any woman, and may leave her feeling alone and terrified. This is where the support group Reach for Recovery comes in. Every Reach for Recovery volunteer has experienced the trauma herself, and is able to empathise with the newly-diagnosed patient.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a portion of proceeds from the SPAR 10km Women’s Challenge at Old Parktonians on October 9 will go to Reach for Recovery.

Volunteers from the support group visit patients in hospital before and after the surgery, to talk about what is about to happen and to provide counselling. Because they have been through it themselves, they are able to reassure the patient that there is life after surgery.

Many of the Reach for Recovery volunteers take part in the SPAR Challenge, either doing the 10km Challenge or the 5km Fun Run. They are easily identified in their pink t-shirts, but also because wherever they are, they are surrounded by laughter. They are an amazingly positive group of women who know all about the terror of being diagnosed with breast cancer, but they will also tell you how they came through it with the support of other women who had been there as well.

Do your bit to contribute to this great cause, and enter the SPAR Women’s Challenge. Entry forms are available at all SPAR, SUPERSPAR and KWIKSPAR stores, or online at www.spar.co.za


NOTES DAVIS CUP SA VS CROATIA PRE-DRAW MEDIA CONFERENCE

GORAN PRPIC (Croatian Captain)
· My team feel so far so good

· The balls are flying around a little and since Saturday we have been battling to get used to conditions we don’t know but we are adjusting nicely

· I told my team that all they should do in the first few days is find a rhythm after which the serious preparation will begin

· I hugely respect the South African team and know the Tie will be a tough one but I have a great committed team who I believe will do the job at hand

· Kevin Anderson is a very respected player and South Africa are lucky to have him in the team, his presence will make a big difference to South Africa’s chances

· We are without Ivo Karlovic our number 1 which obviously is not ideal but we have a good team regardless that can deliver

MARIN CILIC (Ranked Croatia’s No 1)
· The court is playing pretty quick compared to what I am used to on the ATP World Tour

· Altitude is a factor but we decided to come in early on Saturday to give us the best chance of adjusting to altitude. We have targeted 3 days to get adjusted

· Even the tension in our rackets has to be adjusted and we are having to string our rackets at 3/4/5 kg higher than usual so it’s going to take us a couple of days to get used to these conditions

· But I feel real good, and I feel my game is improving. I have been in the top 10 of the world last year and am working at getting back into the top 10 again

IVAN DODIG (Ranked Croatia’s No 2)
· Things are a little faster out there than what we are used to, The courts playing faster, the balls are flying around faster and bouncing high. It’s very different but I am getting used to it

· It’s been a real challenge these past two days adjusting. Its dry and hot and today (Monday) windy so quite a challenge but nothing we can’t overcome

· Last year I broke into the top 100 for the first time and I plan to stay there. It’s been a lot of hard work, I had to change a few things and I must admit that I have also been lucky in some matches but now I am 33 in the world and it’s my highest ever world ranking so I am very happy with my game

· I had to lift my game to stay with the guys at the top but the hard work has paid off and I won my first ATP title in Zagreb and I beat Rafa Nadal a few weeks ago in the Montreal Masters. I am real happy with my game now

JOHN LAFFNIE DE JAGER (South African Captain)
· My team feel great. We arrived Sunday, had a good autograph session at the local Mall where the people of Potchefstroom came out and gave us great support and a team meeting last night set a real positive tone for the week.

· Coming in Sunday has made a huge difference. Its allowed us to get organized and today we were able to get out on court and have a solid practice. Although our players were brought up on altitude they don’t play on altitude on the tour so they also need to get used to the altitude but getting used to it comes more naturally to our boys

· The moral in our camp is good

· We love the venue. It’s a happy hunting ground for us. The facilities are world class. The North West University have gone out of their way to facilitate our every need. Everything is conveniently in walking distance and the people and students of Potch are incredibly supportive. This all helps. It helped us against Holland and we home it helps us against Croatia.

· Croatia is a great tennis nation. They have recently won the Davis Cup before. They know what it takes to win the Davis Cup. They have 4 players in the top 50 of the world. But they are under pressure not to be relegated so we need to capitalize on their pressure.

KEVIN ANDERSON (Ranked South African No 1)
· The court is playing the same as it was against Holland and I am very happy about that. It really suits my game. The court is new and gritty and the ball is bouncing livelier in the warmer weather which is very suited to my game. It’s probably my favourite hard court surface here in Potch.

· Davis Cup is a incredible animal and one is never ever sure when you have one. There have been some real bazaar results in Davis Cup so one can never be sure. Croatia are a good team with a incredible tennis pedigree so we have the utmost respect for Croatia.

· I am happy with my game. I have had a good past few months and ranked 35 in the world justifies my form.

· Give me a day or two and I will be ready for the challenge

RIK DE VOEST (Ranked South African No 2)
· My injured finger is not a physical issue anymore. I am over the injury and ready for this weekend

· We are a well rounded team. All of the South Africans can play singles and doubles so if I can’t play all three days there is back up. But who says I will play all three days? We only just arrived in Potch and John Laffnie as captain will see how the practice goes and make his choices on Thursday before the draw. Remember changes can be made in Davis Cup and we have a well rounded team

· I am fit and healthy and up to the task. I really feel that we South Africans do our best when representing our country. We all have done well playing at home and this weekend should be no different.

IZAK VAN DER MERWE (Ranked South African No 3)
· I am feeling good about my game. My target is to break into the top 100 and I am on track to do so. I have been delayed in my objectives by some physical challenges the past few months but I am raring to go.

· If I get a chance to play this weekend I will be ready to put in my all for South Africa

RAVEN KLAASEN (Ranked South African No 4)
· I am tired having just arrived from Bangkok. I was the last player to get in but so happy to be home and part of the Davis Cup team again.

· I cherish being selected to play Davis Cup and I am really looking forward to this week. It’s going to be great and I am looking forward to a good result for South Africa

Tickets are available at Postnets across the country and at www.ticketpros.co.za. Tickets for the Friday’s two single matches are R50, Saturday’s pivotal doubles encounter, R30, and Sunday’s reverse singles matches, R50. The price to attend all three days is R100.


SUPERSPORT TO COVER DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP PLAY OFF, SOUTH AFRICA vs. CROATIA

South Africa, Randburg - SuperSport announced today that they have obtained the broadcast rights for the forthcoming Davis Cup Tie, South Africa vs. Croatia, to be played at The North West University Potchefstroom Campus from 16 to 18 September 2011.

The Tie will be broadcast live on SuperSport SS5 with crossings as follows;

SERIES
SEASON
WORKING
SCHDATE
STTIME
ENTIME
CHA_SHORT_NAME
LIVEINFO
EVENT VENUE
EVENT LOCATION
Davis Cup
2011
Sa Vs Croatia Day 1
16-Sep-11
10:00
16:30
SS5A
Live
North West University, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground
South Africa
Davis Cup
2011
Sa Vs Croatia Day 1
16-Sep-11
10:00
16:30
SS5N
Live
North West University, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground
South Africa
Davis Cup
2011
Sa Vs Croatia Day 1
16-Sep-11
10:00
16:30
SS5
Live
North West University, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground
South Africa
Davis Cup
2011
Sa Vs Croatia Day 2
17-Sep-11
13:00
15:55
SS5
Live
North West University, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground
South Africa
Davis Cup
2011
Sa Vs Croatia Day 2
17-Sep-11
13:00
15:55
SS5N
Live
North West University, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground
South Africa
Davis Cup
2011
Sa Vs Croatia Day 2
17-Sep-11
13:00
15:55
SS5A
Live
North West University, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground
South Africa
Davis Cup
2011
Sa Vs Croatia Day 3
18-Sep-11
10:00
17:00
SS5A
Live
North West University, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground
South Africa
Davis Cup
2011
Sa Vs Croatia Day 3
18-Sep-11
10:00
17:00
SS5N
Live
North West University, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground
South Africa
Davis Cup
2011
Sa Vs Croatia Day 3
18-Sep-11
10:00
17:00
SS5
Live
North West University, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground
South Africa

The SuperSport Commentary team will be anchored by Gerald De Kock with expert commentary from former tennis professional and Davis Cup player Neville Godwin as well as former professional player Michael De Jongh who was also a leading coach on the WTA Tour and coached the likes of Martina Navratilova, Mary Pierce and Amanda Coetzer.

Ian Smith, CEO of The South African Tennis Association (SATA) and Tournament Director said he was delighted that the Tie would be broadcast live. “SATA believe that a Tie of this importance needs to be accessible to as many tennis and sporting loving fans. Through our arrangement with SuperSport and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) we are able to bring the best tennis action not only to the entire South African public, but, also to the rest of Africa and a host of countries around the world. This helps SATA promote the game in all communities.”

Tickets are available at Postnets across the country and at www.ticketpros.co.za. Tickets for the Friday’s two single matches are R50, Saturday’s pivotal doubles encounter, R30, and Sunday’s reverse singles matches, R50. The price to attend all three days is R100.


ANDERSON’S RARINTO GO ON THE HIGHVELD

Kevin Anderson, South Africa’s 34th world-ranked and No 1 tennis player, is “healthy and strong” ahead of the Rainbow Nations’ attempt to reach the elite Davis Cup World Group in the Promotion/ Relegation Tie against Croatia next weekend at Potchefstroom’s North West University Tennis Stadium. The Chicago-based Anderson touched down in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon and wasted no time in heading off to Potchefstroom where he’ll be joined by team mates Rik De Voest, Izak van der Merwe and Raven Klaasen.

He was a bit surprised to learn that Croatian coach Goran Prpić said the Croatians were pleased to be playing away from home because of the high expectations and pressure of the Croats, following their country’s Davis Cup conquest in 2005. “I don’t know what to make of their preference to play away from home, but, if the Croatians had a choice, they’ll play at at home for sure,” said Anderson. “Davis Cup is a big deal for them and they will want to stay in the World Group.”

Anderson was pleased that the Tie was taking place in Potchefstroom, where South Africa disposed of The Netherlands two months ago. “We’ve played there and you get a feel for things,” said Anderson. “I don’t feel any pressure playing in South Africa. This time my form is better and I feel sure about my game. I’m looking forward to playing good matches and I expect it’s going to be close. We (South Africa) just need to get two good singles results on Friday and then we can go into the doubles with confidence. The team enjoyed playing there in Potch last time and the facilities were great. Above all, we know what to expect that makes us feel comfortable for the tie. Anderson said he won’t need much time to acclimatise to the high altitude after playing for the past two weeks in New York. “I will have quite a bit of time to used to the air (altitude) and it shouldn’t take long because I grew up in Johannesburg”

Over the next few days Anderson will be looking to step up his performance by focusing on certain aspects of his play. “I want to work on my serve and return with the view to improving my game,” said Anderson. “I want to be more aggressive and attack whenever the opportunity is there.”

“We are up for a big challenge from their Croatians. Marin Cilic (world-ranked 28th) is an experienced player and right now he’s on top of his game,” said Anderson. “Their No 2 Ivan Dodig is climbing the world rankings and no one has forgotten that a few weeks ago he defeated Rafael Nadal in Montreal. And I expect they’ll team up for the doubles, so we in for tough matches”


SPAR PROTEAS SUPPORT THE BOKS

Johannesburg, South Africa – SPAR Proteas players Chrisna Bootha, Captain Amanda Mynhardt and Vanes-Mari Du Toit get together to show their support for the Springboks.

SPAR Proteas players Chrisna Bootha, Captain Amanda Mynhardt and Vanes-Mari Du Toit get together to show their support for the Springboks
Picture by: Reg Caldecott

Captain Amanda Mynhardt wishes the team all the best; “From the SPAR Protea Netball Team we want to wish the Boks the best of luck for the Rugby World Cup. Enjoy every moment of it! We support you all the way, and will be looking forward to you bringing back the cup to where it belongs.”


TWO KEY PLAYERS OUT OF CROATIAN DAVIS CUP TEAM

The South African Davis Cup team will be buoyed by the news they will be facing a Croatian team without key players Ivan Ljubicic and Ivo Karlovic for their World Group promotion/relegation Tie to be played from September 16th to 18th at the North West University Potchefstroom campus tennis stadium.

However, they still will square up against a formidable foe as Croatian captain Goran Prpic announced that world No 28 Marin Cilic and No 33 Ivan Dodig will spearhead the team. His other two players are Antonio Veic (No 182) and Nikola Mektic (No 267). Ljubicic, currently ranked at No 31, has retired from playing for the national team and was, therefore, not nominated. Big-serving Karlovic was expected to be in the team, but, his wife Alsi is due to give birth to the couple’s first child next week and he has decided to stay with her.

The lanky Cilic, who turns 23 on September 28th, has been ranked as high as No 9. He caused a massive upset at the US Open two years ago when he put out Andy Murray in straight sets in the fourth round before losing in four sets to the eventual champion Juan Martin Del Potro. Cilic lost his way late last year, but, has started to come back this year. He has wins over the likes of Mardy Fish, Juan Martin Del Potro and Thomas Berdych this year. He was also involved in a lengthy five-setter with American, John Isner, at this year’s Australian Open which the Croatian won 9-1 in the fifth set. The match lasted four hours and 33 minutes. At this year’s US Open he managed to take a set off Roger Federer before losing in four sets.

Dodig, aged 26, was unknown to many South Africans until he recently took out world No 2 Rafael Nadal at the Canadian Masters series last month. This year he has also beaten Robin Soderling, Marcos Baghdatis, Feliciano Lopez, Ljubicic, and perhaps most relevantly, South Africa’s Rik de Voest. The pair met on clay in Zagreb and Dodig won that encounter 6-3 6-2.

Veic is 23 years old with a career-high ranking of 155 while Mektic, 22, has a best ranking of 242.

It won’t be easy and we are aware of that.” said Croatian coach Goran Prpic, “But, our ambition is to play in the World Group next year and we are going to South Africa with the hope of winning. With all respect to the South African team, and especially Kevin Anderson, we feel it would be a failure if we lose this Tie. We have to adjust to the conditions and that’s why we will arrive in Potchefstroom on Saturday the 10th of September, in order to prepare as best as possible.”

South African captain John-Laffnie de Jager has named Kevin Anderson (ranked 34), Rik de Voest (124), Izak van der Merwe (129) and Raven Klaasen (254) as his team for the tie.

Tickets are available at Postnets across the country and at www.ticketpros.co.za. Tickets for the Friday’s two single matches are R50, Saturday’s pivotal doubles encounter, R30, and Sunday’s reverse singles matches, R50. The price to attend all three days is R100.


Catch Kevin Anderson on Top Billing

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kevin_anderson_512k.wmv


Johannesburg, South Africa - It’s that time of the year again when girls can do their bit to help th

Johannesburg, South Africa - It’s that time of the year again when girls can do their bit to help their school and have some fun at the same time.

Atlholang Primary, winners of the 2010 Schools Challenge collect their prices from Cindy Vorster, representative of Mustek, on stage on race day 10 October 2010.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott

The SPAR Women’s Challenge takes place at Old Parktonians in Randburg on Sunday October 9 and the schools with the most entries will win Mecer laptops with Win7 Professional software. The top school will also receive a Brother colour print, copy, scan and fax printer. The school with the second highest number of entries will receive a laptop and a mono print, copy, scan and fax printer, and third placed school will also receive prizes.

No school has enough computers – they are such a crucial part of modern education and winning one could not be easier. Entries must all be submitted together and entries for the schools competition need to be in before September 24.

Girls taking part in the 10km Challenge need to be 15 or over, but the 5km Fun Run is available to girls over nine, which means primary schools also stand a chance of winning these wonderful prizes.

Although some girls will be eager to run, walkers are also welcome in both competitions. Many girls will welcome this as an opportunity to chat to their friends and catch up with the gossip. Schools could add to the fun by running an internal competition to see which class or house has the most entries.

In addition to helping their school stand a chance of winning a computer, and having a fun day out when Johannesburg is looking its best, the entrants will also have the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing their bit for a very important charity. A portion of proceeds from the race will go to Reach for Recovery, a support group for women with breast cancer. All Reach for Recovery volunteers are breast cancer conquerors, so they are well aware of what newly diagnosed breast cancer patients are going through. They provide support, counselling and a shoulder to cry on.


EXPERIENCED TEAM OF OFFICIALS TO WATCH OVER VITAL SOUTH AFRICA V CROATIA DAVIS CUP TIE

Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett will performing the same task at the upcoming Davis Cup tie between South Africa and Croatia to be played at the University of Potchefstroom Tennis Stadium from September 16 to 18.

Renowned Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett will be referee at the Davis Cup World Group Play Off, SA vs. Croatia, at the North West University Sports Grounds from 16 – 18 September.

This is a vital tie for both teams as the winner earns a spot in next year’s World Group. Jarrett became the referee at Wimbledon following the retirement of Alan Mills in 2006. The two chair umpires are Fergus Murphy from Ireland and Austria’s Daniel Infanger. Murphy, who hails from Dublin, is a full-time ATP chair umpire and carries a Gold Badge certification. Infanger has a Silver Badge certification.

Jarrett, born in 1958, played professionally on the tennis tour in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was better known as a doubles player. His regular partner was fellow Briton Jonathan Smith. They captured one title together at Auckland, New Zealand, in 1982. Jarrett was also a runner-up in five other doubles events and on two occasions they went down to a team containing a South African. At Auckland in 1979 they went down to Bernie Mitton and Australian Kim Warwick while at Brighton in 1980 he lost to Eddie and Lennert Edwards.

Like any referee, or, umpire Murphy has found himself on the wrong side of a tongue lashing from players. Andy Roddick recently issued the umpire with a “warning”, Ivan Ljubicic has told him to “shut up,” Dimitry Tursanov called him “an idiot” and Tim Henman refused to shake hands with him after a doubtful decision against Juan Ignacio Chela in a Masters Series event in Hamburg. However, for Murphy that is all in a day’s work and he has learned to deal with the vagaries of temperamental tennis players.

Infanger has also had to deal with the wrath of frustrated players. At a challenger events in Helsinki, Finland, the Austrian was pushed by Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Following his semifinal defeat to Ricardas Berankis, Dimitrov is reported to have approached umpire Daniel Infanger away from the court before shoving the official in the chest with both hands. He received a 2000 Euro fine and a three-week ban.

Tickets to the Davis Cup Tie are available at Postnets across the country and at www.ticketpros.co.za. Tickets for the Friday’s two single matches are R50, Saturday’s pivotal doubles encounter, R30, and Sunday’s reverse singles matches, R50. The price to attend all three days is R100.


IRVETTE VAN BLERK HEADS FOR ANOTHER VICTORY IN SPAR WOMEN’S GRAND PRIX SERIES

Irvette Van Blerk is heading for another victory in the SPAR Women’s 10Km Grand Prix five race series, with one race remaining.

Defending champion, Van Blerk won the Pretoria race in fine style and this has put her in front of the leader board with 96 points. All she has to do is win the final race in Johannesburg on October 9 and she will receive the massive R60 000 first prize. Her closed rival is Captonian runner, Zintle Xinewe, with 73 points. Even though this seems like a foregone conclusion for Van Blerk, it is not over until the fat lady sings and she is clearing her throat, but, has not sung yet.

“I had a bad start to the series when I finished fourth in Cape Town and that made me think I would not do well in the series,” said Van Blerk. “Then I came second in Port Elizabeth and that is when I gained confidence to win in both Durban and Pretoria,” said the tall athlete.

Rene Kalmer was the winner in Cape Town, but did not run in PE and pulled out of the Durban race due to stomach cramps, which left the door open for her team mate and training partner, Van Blerk to take the lead in the series. Kalmer also missed the Pretoria race due to doing duty in Korea for her country at the World Athletics Championships.

It is not likely that Van Blerk will finish outside the top twenty in Johannesburg, but, the combination is that she must finish outside the top twenty and Xiniwe must win the race and set a better time from last year’s 34:23, which Van Blerk won. This may seem an easy task for a runner like Xiniwe as her best time is 33:39, but that was at sea level and for her to run at altitude at that speed is a complete different task.

Third placed, Annerien van Schalkwyk is not in a competitive position in the series.

The only change in the points system is the veterans and the masters. Grace de Oliveira turned 50 in July and this changed the whole set up for the two age groups. She has moved from the veterans section to make way for the leading over 40 athlete, Zola Budd Pieterse. However, the top master runner is Francis van Blerk, Irvette’s aunt, who now has to drop a position as De Oliveira is the top ranking master. This division will be decided in the last two races of the year, the Pretoria and Johannesburg ones.

Even though Dinah-Lebo Phalula won the PE race, with her twin sister Lebogang taking third place in the same race, they are not in the running for the top prize of R60 000 for the winner of the series.

The entire series with age groups, times and positions cleverly worked out, it is possible for anyone to win the series, but, it is the faster senior runners who have the edge over the older and sometimes slower competitors. Perhaps De Oliveira will make a difference in her older age group next year as she is still a strong runner for a master. All she has to do is improve on this year’s times, next year and she can stand a good chance of challenging the younger runners in this format of the series.


SPRING DAY HERALDS JOHANNESBURG CHALLENGE

Johannesburg, South Africa - Most people would agree that it has been a hard, cold winter. Each brief spell of warm weather was followed by another cold front – each seeming to be colder than the last. But September 1 is Spring Day and there are definite signs that spring really is just around the corner.

The scent of jasmine permeates the air and the trees are beginning to show signs of green. The days are getting longer and as people shed their extra layers of clothing, they are beginning to shrug off their winter blues.

Spring Day also means that thousands of women from all over Gauteng are looking ahead to the annual SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Old Parktonians in Randburg on October 9. Many have started their preparations for the race with an extra spring in their step as they think about the warmer days ahead.

October is one of the most beautiful months in Johannesburg. The trees have their new soft green leaves, gardens are a wealth of colour and some of the city’s thousands of jacarandas are beginning to show tinges of the glorious blue that will soon dominate the scenery. So it is a wonderful time to take to the streets and enjoy the warmer weather and the lovely surroundings.

The SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge coincides with Breast Cancer month, and a portion of proceeds from the race go to Reach for Recovery, a support group for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The Reach for Recovery volunteers have all had their own encounters with the disease, and so they are in a perfect position to talk to and counsel women who have just heard those ominous words “you have breast cancer.”

Although some of South Africa’s top athletes, like Irvette Van Blerk, Rene Kalmer, Zintle Xiniwe, Annerien van Schalkwyk, Ntombesintu Mfunzi and Catherine Skosana will be vying for top spot, the race is really all about the thousands of ordinary women and girls who will be taking part just for the fun of it.

For those who feel 10km is a bit too far, there is also a 5km Fun Run, and walkers are welcome in both events.

There are always wonderful lucky prizes at the SPAR Challenge, including groceries for a year in the form of vouchers worth R12 000, and R2000 worth of SPAR’s new Good Living stainless steel range of appliances. The first 10 000 pre-entries will receive a free race t-shirt, and the first 11 000 finishers will receive as medal and goodie bag.

The Challenge is a fun day for the whole family, with a variety of food stalls, a children’s play area with jumping castles, clowns and face painting as well as live entertainment provided by Denim, who are widely regarded as South Africa’s top party band.

So don’t delay – enter today! Entry forms are available from all SPAR, SUPERSPAR and KWIKSPAR stores or online at www.spar.co.za

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