KALMER FULFILS HER DREAM OF WINNINGCAR

Johannesburg South Africa - Victory in the SPAR Women’s Challenge in Pretoria has ensured that Rene Kalmer has clinched her third Grand Prix title, but the Olympian insists that she has more to do.

Rene Kalmer crosses the finish line of the Pretoria SPAR Women’s Challenge run at Supersport Park, Centurion on Saturday 25 August.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott

Rene Kalmer in action during the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge
Picture by: Craig Nieuwenhuizen/Beeld


Kalmer won the Pretoria race in a record time, and now has 110 points – almost double those of her nearest rival, Portia Ngwenya, who has 56. Olympic Games marathon runner Kalmer has won every Challenge race this year, three of them in record time, and although she has the Grand Prix title in the bag, says she is determined to win the final race, in Johannesburg on October 14, as well.

The prize for the Grand Prix this year is a brand new Nissan Micra, and Kalmer is over the moon at having won a car. “Years ago, I was in a race where the first prize was a car, and ever since then, it’s been my ambition to win a car,” she said. “Now I have achieved that dream and I’m so excited. I’m thrilled to have won the Grand Prix again, but I am determined to win the last race, in Johannesburg on October 14, because no-one has ever won all five races. So I still have a lot to do in Johannesburg.”

While Kalmer has the title sewn up, the race for second and third place is wide open. Kalmer’s sister, Christine, is hot on Ngwenya’s heels, with 55 points, and defending champion Irvette van Blerk is in fourth place, with 54. Van Blerk, who won the Grand Prix title in 2010 and 2011, had to withdraw from the Pretoria race because of injury.

Sonja Laxton, with 25 points from three races, cannot be beaten in the Grandmasters (over 60) category, and Grace de Oliveira appears to have a lock on the Masters (50-59) category.
There is a fierce tussle for points in the Veterans (40-49) category between Janene Carey and Ronel Thomas. Thomas has 24 points and Carey 23, so the Johannesburg race could determine the outcome of the title.

In the Junior category, Annie Bothma, with 13 points, has a slight lead over Tabisa Sirayi and Olivia Labuschagne, who have 10 points each. Kalmer and Van Blerk’s club, Nedbank CGA, with 228 points, has an overwhelming lead over Bidvest CGA (98) and Boxer (97) in the club competition.

SPAR Grand Prix Standings after four races:
Open: 1 Rene Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) 110; 2 Portia Ngwenya (Transnet) 56; 3 Christine Kalmer (Nedbank CGA) 55; 4 Irvette van Blerk (Nedbank CGA) 54; 5 Zintle Xiniwe (Mr Price WP) 51
Veteran: 1 Ronel Thomas (Boxer 24); 2 Janene Carey (Boxer) 23; 3 Belinda Hickman-Mosdell (HQH) 5
Master: 1 Grace de Oliveira (Boxer) 25; 2 Olga Howard (Celtics) 10; 3 Annetjie Botes (Nedbank SWD) 8
Grandmaster: Sonja Laxton (RAC) 25; 2 Lien Botha (RFL) 10; 3 Veronica van Niekerk (Elgin/Grabouw) 9
Junior: Annie Bothma (Helderberg) 13; 2 Tabisa Sirayi (LAC) Olivia Labuschagne (New Balance) 10


SENIOR TENNIS PLAYERS TAKE MANGAUNG AND ETHEKWINI TO COURT

Johannesburg, South Africa - Whilst the worlds professional tennis players gather in New York City for the last Grand Slam of 2012, South Africa’s top senior players will do battle in Bloemfontein and Durban for the annual Senior Inter-Provincial.

The Free State capital Mangaung will host the 50-55+ age groups whilst eThekwini will host the 30-45 + age groups.

In Bloemfontein from 27-31 August, 242 players will do battle at three venues namely the Free State Tennis Stadium, Muddplein Sports Centre and Oud Studente Sports Club.

Over 300 players will gather in Durban from 2-7 September and seven venues in and around the city will host the coastal tournament with the main venue being the Westridge Park Tennis Stadium. The other venues will be Durban North TC, Prospect C, Westville TC, Chiltern TC, Kloof TC and Bellevue TC.

Teams representing all 14 tennis regions of the country will each comprise of three men and three women in each age groups. A round-robin will be played within each age group with the team accumulating the most points declared the winner. Each tie played comprises of singles and doubles for men and women as well as mixed doubles.

“Seniors tennis forms a very important part of the tennis structures of Tennis South Africa” said Ronnie van’t Hof, TSA Board Member responsible for Seniors Tennis. “Tennis is truly the game of a life-time and our senior players over the age of 30 can play competitive tennis through this tournament and their regular senior circuit right up until the ripe old age of 80 years and older which makes tennis such an attractive and important game for the development of sport in our country.”


KALMER AIMING FOR NEW CAR

Johannesburg, South Africa - Fresh from competing in the women’s marathon at the Olympic Games in London earlier this month, Rene Kalmer turns her attention to a shorter distance on Saturday.

Rene Kalmer crossing the finish line at the Durban leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge on 24 June 2012.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


Kalmer will be trying to cement her claim to a brand new Nissan Micra by winning the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Supersport Park on Saturday afternoon. She won the first three races, in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban, and has an almost unassailable lead in the SPAR Grand Prix rankings.

After three races, Kalmer has 80 points – 24 ahead of her nearest rival, defending Grand Prix champion Irvette van Blerk. Kalmer and Van Blerk, both of Nedbank CGA, have dominated the Grand Prix since its inception, with two GP victories each. The only other GP winner was Poppy Mlambo in 2008.

Van Blerk, who came third in all three Challenge races so far this year, is only three points ahead of Cape Town runner Zintle Xiniwe, who has 51 points, after coming fourth in Cape Town, second in Port Elizabeth and sixth in Durban. Portia Ngwenya has 47 points, and Kalmer’s sister, Christine, has 43.

Kalmer and Van Blerk had differing experiences in the London Marathon. Kalmer ran a very good race and finished in 35th position out of 105 finishers, in a time of two hours 30.51 minutes, while Van Blerk was unable to finish because of an Achilles tendon injury. Kalmer’s confidence will be high on Saturday, and she is expected to have little difficulty in winning the Challenge.

Annie Bothma, with a win in Port Elizabeth and second place in Cape Town and Durban, leads the Grand Prix ladder in the junior category, with 13 points, with Thabisa Sirayi, who earned bonus points for winning the Durban race in record time, in second place on 10 points.

There is a close tussle in the veteran category, where just one point separates Boxer runners Ronel Thomas and Janene Carey, who have 24 and 23 points respectively.

Multiple Comrades Marathon Gold Medallist Grace de Oliveira leads the master category, with 20 points after record-breaking victories in Port Elizabeth and Durban. Olga Howard, who won the Cape Town race, but did not compete in the other two, is in second place with 10 points.
Although she did not run in Durban, evergreen RAC runner Sonja Laxton, who has 20 points, is well ahead of her nearest rival, who won the Durban race.

Nedbank CGA (131 points), whose runners took the first four places in Durban on Sunday, have a massive lead of 34 points over Boxer (97), with Bidvest CGA a distance third with 66 points.


A TREAT FOR NETBALL FANS

Johannesburg, South Africa - Netball enthusiasts have a treat in store for them when DSTV broadcasts highlights from the inaugural World Universities Netball Championships (WUNC) held in Cape Town last month.

The South African Universities team shone at the tournament, remaining unbeaten until the final, when they were narrowly beaten by 53 goals to 49 by Great Britain. It was a thrilling final, which went into extra time, after the two teams finished level at the end of regulation time.

South Africa reached the final with a victory over the very competitive Jamaican team, winning the semi-final by an agonizingly close 41 goals to 39. Jamaica went on to beat Northern Ireland in the play –off for third place to win the bronze medal.

Although economic constraints meant that the world’s top two netballing countries, Australia and New Zealand, were not represented at the tournament, the standard of play was generally very high, and many of the players had represented their countries on an international level, while others are likely to do so in the near future. Three African teams – South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe – took part in the tournament.

The premier of the exciting highlights package will be broadcast on SS 6 and SS 6A on Wednesday August 22 at 6pm. The half-hour programme will be repeated six times on the same channels. Schedule as follows:
Series Season Item Date Time End time Channel Info
World University Netball Championships 2012 Highlights 22-Aug-12 18:00 18:30 SS6/SS6A Premier
World University Netball Championships 2012 Highlights 23-Aug-12 09:00 09:30 SS6/SS6A Repeat
World University Netball Championships 2012 Highlights 27-Aug-12 14:30 15:00 SS6/SS6A Repeat
World University Netball Championships 2012 Highlights 28-Aug-12 10:00 10:30 SS6/SS6A Repeat
World University Netball Championships 2012 Highlights 30-Aug-12 16:30 17:00 SS6/SS6A Repeat
World University Netball Championships 2012 Highlights 03-Sep-12 18:30 19:00 SS6/SS6A Repeat
World University Netball Championships 2012 Highlights 06-Sep-12 13:00 13:30 SS6/SS6A Repeat


JUBILANT PROTEAS DETHRONE MALAWI QUEENS 47-43

Pretoria, South Africa - South Africa established themselves as the top netball team in Africa, beating arch rivals Malawi 47-43 in the final of the inaugural Diamond Challenge tournament in Pretoria on Saturday.
Watched by Sports Minister Fikile Mbablu and his Malawian counterpart, Justin Saidi, as well as Olympic canoeing bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley, the teams put on an outstanding display of international netball.

Player of the Tournament, and Most Accurate Shooter Mwai Kumwenda in action during the final match of the Diamond Challenge.
Pictures by: Reg Caldecott

A calm and collected – and Tsogo Sun Player of the Match - Chrisna Bootha takes a shot at goal during the final match of the Diamond Challenge on Saturday 18 August.


While the honours were even early in the match, the Malawians looked to have the upper hand as they dominated possession. Both teams made nervous errors but Malawi edged narrowly ahead with a 12-10 lead at the first break. In the second quarter, the Proteas held their own but Malawi still held a one goal advantage at half-time, with the scores at 23-22. Chrisna Bootha turned the game around in the third quarter. Having missed the first two matches of the tournament with flu, Bootha arrived at the courts alone, early in the morning, and worked on her shooting before the final. It paid off and the goal shooter broke into a rare smile when the SPAR Proteas held a six-goal lead midway through the third quarter. A rare mistake in the circle allowed Malawi back into the game but the Proteas refocused quickly, outscoring their opponents by 14 points to nine in the third period.

Malawi pulled it back in the final fifteen minutes and kept the home side on their toes by picking up the pace. Mwai Kumwenda’s experience showed as the Malawian shooter was impressive with her quick handling of the ball. It was a tense final few minutes with only one point separating the sides, but South Africa held their nerve to lift the trophy.

Bootha’s final statistics showed a 90 percent accuracy in her shooting while Kumwenda was far and away the shooter of the tournament, scoring 39 from 41 attempts. SPAR Proteas captain Zanele Mdodana said she was still replaying the final moments in her head. “It was such a phenomenal win and I am so delighted, I don’t know what else to say,” Mdodana said. “To see the girls fighting right to the end was fantastic. “Last night we said we had to raise the bar and we were not going to lose to Malawi twice in a row. “Now we are walking on top of a mountain.”

Mdodana said it was a team effort and the coaching staff, Elize Kotze and assistant Lana Krige, deserved praise as they had more belief in the players than they had in themselves. “It’s about time South Africa were back as the best team in Africa,” said Kotze. “It will always be a tough encounter against Malawi and I cannot ever imagine playing them and having an easy game. “The score could have been higher but considering Chrisna (Bootha) was not supposed to be on the court and Maryka Holtzhausen, our goal attack, had a stomach bug, I can’t complain. “I saw something out there today which pleased me more than anything -the commitment and the fact that the girls would put anything on the line to win.” - Jenny Bernstein, Sapa


BOTSWANA BEAT ZAMBIA IN A TIGHT THIRD PLACE PLAYOFF

Pretoria, South Africa - Zambia’s national netball team saved their best for last despite being between by Botswana into third place at the Netball Diamond Challenge in Pretoria on Saturday.

Botswana’s Wing Attack Beauty Letsholo in action against Zambia in the Diamond Challenge playoff on Saturday.

– Botswana’s Goal Shooter Lemogang Moganetsi out-stretches Zambia’s Goal Keeper Ebber Sithole during the playoff match on Saturday.
Pics by: Reg Caldecott


The match was a physical encounter and closer than the 45-36 final score suggested. Botswana had beaten Zambia by a bigger margin in their round robin game on Friday (59-41) so the Zambians did their homework and came back fighting to the bitter end. Zambia had the better of the possession in the first quarter but conceded twice the number of turnovers.

Interestingly, both sides had the same number of shots on goal, but Botswana’s shooters were more accurate, taking a narrow two goal lead at the break (10-8). The second quarter saw Zambia draw level with their opponents and the two sides matched each other point for point until a couple of costly errors saw the momentum swing, once again, in Botswana’s favour with the score at 22-19 at half-time. Determined not to give up, Zambia came out defending well ,although sometimes too aggressively, and being penalised for it. The gap widened between the two teams as Botswana went into the final quarter with a 33-25 lead. The difference between them in the end was Botswana’s ability to capitalise on their turnovers.

Botswana’s coach Motlhokwa Motsumi felt goal shooter Lemogang Moganetsi deserved credit for her efforts in the match and also wing attack Beauty Letsholo who enjoyed an outstanding tournament. “We said after yesterday’s game that Zambia would come at us hard today,” said Motsumi. “So we knew we had to multiply our efforts, which we didn’t quite manage to do. “Our goal shooter played very well today and Beauty had another good game. “She was our best player throughout the tournament and overall, we have learned a lot. “We also managed to keep our world ranking (16) which was one of our goals.”
Botswana have recently acquired a technical assistant, Frances Granger, from New Zealand and Motsumi admitted that it probably gave them the edge over Zambia this time around, after they had been beaten by Zambia twice in February.

Zambian coach Charles Zulu was understandably disappointed with the loss but proud that his team did battle to the end. “It was our best performance so far in this tournament but we didn’t take our chances,” Zulu said.
“When we defended well, we made mistakes on attack and we didn’t utilise our centre passes well enough.” Zulu said many of his team members had been injured which hampered their preparations coming into the tournament but overall, he was pleased with the way the team performed and singled out goal shooter Lucy Jere. “We are grateful to South Africa for hosting this tournament and we have all benefitted from it.
“We were disappointed not to beat Botswana but I think some of our players were very good and Lucy stood out with her accuracy statistics – approximately 86 per cent overall in the tournament — second only to the Malawian shooter, Mwayi Kumwenda.” – Jenny Bernstein


MALAWI TAKES THE HONOURS AGAINST SA

Pretoria, South Africa - Malawi came out on top against the SPAR Proteas after the two top teams on the continent battled it out in the four nations Netball Diamond Challenge in Pretoria on Friday night.

SPAR Proteas centre player Bongiwe Msomi in action during their match against Malawi at the Diamond Challenge on Friday.

SPAR Proteas Goal Shooter Chrisna Bootha fights for the ball during the match against Malawi on Friday at the Heartfelt Arena.
Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


South Africa were beaten 47-42 in the jam-packed Heartfelt Arena, as the crowd witnessed an outstanding display of international netball. Chrisna Bootha was back as South Africa’s goal shooter and had a shaky start after missing the two previous games with flu. The tight first quarter ended 12-10 in favour of the visitors as neither side was willing to give an inch.

While they were never able to close the gap, the Proteas adapted to the quicker style of play and seemed to settle down as the Malawians continued to exert pressure. With the possession balanced between the two sides, Malawi went into the half-time break with a three point lead, at 24-21. Their lead increased to ten goals at one point in the third quarter, with South Africa missing regulation goals on several occasions.

Coach Elize Kotze made a few changes to her team and they pulled back two points, going into the last 15 minutes with the score at 38-30. South Africa made a good start to the final quarter, scoring four goals in a row, which could have been more had their shooting been more accurate. Bongi Msomi, the driving force in the middle of the court, suffered cramps and eventually had to be substituted and, just before the final whistle, Bootha also limped off the court. South Africa reduced the gap to five goals in the end and were disappointed not to have done better given that they actually had more shots on goal – 59 to Malawi’s 54.

“At this level, we have to be more consistent,” said SPAR Proteas captain Zanele Mdodana after the match. “We have to take every chance we get. “There is no room for errors and no room for mediocrity. Every opportunity you get, you have to make use of it.” She said she felt they did not capitalise on their chances and the team would get together again in the morning to focus on eliminating their errors. “I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed tonight, because I saw something in us that I haven’t seen in a while,” she said. “We actually fought to the end and we didn’t give up. “We managed to close the gap towards the end of the match which showed good character and good fitness, because we could have just given up.”

Earlier, Botswana edged out Zambia by 59 goals to 41 and both teams meet the same opponents again on Saturday while the Proteas get another shot at the big guns when they meet Malawi in the tournament final at 1.40pm. Sapa, Jenny Bernstein


BOTSWANA ENCOURAGED BY THEIR FIRST WIN

Pretoria, South Africa - Botswana edged out Zambia by 59 goals to 41 in the four nations Netball Diamond Challenge in Pretoria on Friday evening.

Zambia’s Captain and Goal Attack Lucy Jere fights for the ball against Botswana’s Goal Keeper Ntebogang Motlakaloso during Friday’s match of the Diamond Challenge.
Picture credit: Reg Caldecott

Botswana’s Wing Attack, and player of the match, Beauty Letsholo in action against Zambia on day 3 of the Diamond Challenge, being played at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria.


It was Botswana’s first victory, after successive loses to Malawi and South Africa, while Zambia are still without a win. The two teams will meet again on Saturday in the third/fourth place playoff game.

The first quarter saw the two teams evenly matched and while Zambia had more of the possession, Botswana had a two point advantage, going into the first break at 14-12. Botswana went ahead in the next quarter, scoring 16 points to Zambia’s nine but it was not without a fight. The Zambians still had the better of their opponents when it came to ball possession but missed more goals than their opponents. The third quarter started slowly but the deficit between the two teams began to increase. Botswana had more of the ball, for the first time in the match, and outscored their opponents, leading 43-31 overall. Botwana dominated in the final segment of the match, scoring 16 points against Zambia’s 10, thanks to player of the match Botswana’s goal shooter Beauty Letsholo.

Letsholo said she had joked with her team mates earlier about winning the R1000 Tsogo Sun Player of the Match cheque when they arrived at the stadium. “I am so happy with the way we played tonight and for me it was a dream come true,” Letsholo said afterwards. “We spoke about what went wrong in our two previous games and we decided we needed to support each other more. “Instead of shouting at each other when something went wrong, we should rather encourage each other. “Tomorrow it won’t be easy playing Zambia again as they will come out equally determined to beat us and our main focus will be to protect our world ranking (16).”

A disheartened Zambian captain Annie Mukamba said her team were disappointed with their performance against Botswana and they had played a far better match against the SPAR Proteas on Thursday. “Our youngsters rely on the more experienced players and tonight those were the players that let us down,” Mukamba said. “We beat Botswana when we played them in February, so we had expected to win this match. “Perhaps we underestimated them but we struggled from the start.” She said they had learned a few things about their opponents and hoped to do better when they meet them on court again in the playoff on Saturday. “We will work on our mistakes and definitely improve our performance tomorrow,” she said. “We plan to come in here feeling strong and full of confidence.”


PROTEAS GIVEN A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY BY ZAMBIA

Pretoria, South Africa - South Africa’s 47-34 victory over Zambia was not quite the birthday celebration netball coach Elize Kotze had envisaged at the Diamond Challenge in Pretoria on Thursday night.

South Africa’s Wing Attack Bongiwe Msomi (Wednesday’s Tsogo Sun Player of the Match) in action against Zambia on day 2 of the Diamond Challenge being played at the Heartfelt Arena on Thursday.

Wing Defence Anneret Viljoen reaches for the ball during South Africa’s match against Zambia on day 2 of the Diamond Challenge on Thursday.
Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


Despite their second victory in the four-nations tournament, the SPAR Proteas failed to set the stadium alight and will need to up their game considerably when they take on African champions Malawi on Friday.

The Zambians dominated possession in the first half of the match, but conceded more turnovers, allowing the hosts a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. The visitors came back hard in the next quarter and, at one stage, Zambia scored four goals in a row. The Proteas heeded the warning and snapped back into focus, maintaining a 25-17 lead at half-time.

The Zambians played a very physical game and Kotze made a few tactical substitutions to protect her less experienced players. The upshot only served to unsettle the team’s attack so she was forced to make further changes in the third quarter. Ahead by 10 goals at the start of the fourth quarter, the Proteas again conceded possession, but both teams were unable to capitalise on the growing number of mistakes being made by both sides.

Zambia’s Lucy Jere was the most accurate of the shooters, scoring 22 from 26 attempts while Melissa Myburgh netted 34 from 43 opportunities. Player-of-the-match Karla Mostert was delighted with her award but said the team had a lot of work to do before they faced their nemesis Malawi. “We played hard but, unfortunately, we also made too many errors,” Mostert said. “We really want to improve on that, so we will go back to the drawing board tomorrow.”

Kotze focussed on the positives and said it was wonderful to hear the near-capacity crowd raising the roof. “It was so fantastic to hear the crowd chanting and singing and it will take more than this match to ruin my day,” said the birthday girl. “This match against Zambia was not exactly what we expected after watching them play on Wednesday. “They came out hard and were totally unpredictable. “Their short passes were hard to intercept and it was very clever instruction from their coaches to read our style of defence.”

Kotze said she was proud the SPAR Proteas pulled through for the victory in the end. “The girls worked very hard out there today especially our defence,” she said. “I was extremely proud of Adele Niemand, our goal keeper.“It is most difficult to defend the short, moving, unpredictable attackers, which they played today. “It’s also still a blow for us not to have Chrisna Bootha healthy, but I think she will be ready to go out on the court tomorrow evening as she gives the attacking side huge confidence. “Their man-to-man defence paid off for Zambia and they sometimes got the better of us but we pulled through and survived in the end.”

Earlier, Malawi beat Botswana 63-29 in a match which was also not as one-sided as the score implied.

South Africa play Malawi on Friday night while Botswana face Zambia in the earlier match – Sapa, Jenny Bernstein


THATO TOUCHES HEARTS

Johannesburg, South Africa – Little 12 year old Thato Makhubedu touched the hearts of many netballers when she visited the SPAR National Championships, at the University of Johannebsurg last week.

Thato Makhubedu with the SPAR Protea netball team, and team management at the SPAR National Championships, at the University of Johannesburg last week.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


Growing up, Thato was diagnosed with kidney failure and spent many of her young years in and out of intensive care. In 2009 she was finally given a second chance when her doctor threw her a birthday party, and told her that she would be getting a new kidney as her birthday present. Three years later, and a member of the Kidney Beanz Trust, Thato is living a more fulfilled life and has a passion for netball. The SPAR Protea team was there to meet Thato as she arrived at the National Championships last week, and gave her a signed ball as a token of their support for her bravery. Teary-eyed Protea coach Elize Kotze welcomed Thato and after hearing her inspiring story offered to give her some personal netball lessons when Thato returns from the SA Transplant Games being played in Durban this week.


SA START OFF DIAMOND CHALLENGE WITHWIN

Pretoria, South Africa - South Africa opened their campaign with an unconvincing 55-26 victory over Botswana at the inaugural Netball Diamond Challenge in Pretoria on Wednesday.

SPAR Proteas captain Zanele Mdodana in action against Botswana on day 1 of the Diamond Challenge at the Heartfelt Arena.

New cap Melissa Myburgh takes a shot at goal during South Africa’s first match of the Diamond Challenge.
Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


The SPAR Proteas took an early lead, going five goals ahead before Botswana settled into the game.
When goal shooter Chrisna Bootha left the court injured, debutant Melissa Myburgh took her place and kept the momentum going, with the hosts outscoring Botswana by 14 goals to five at the end of the first quarter. South Africa led 30-9 at half-time but their performance lacked fire and pace.

National coach Elize Kotze made several changes to the team for the third quarter, giving all her players a run. The changes disturbed the rhythm of the team but the Proteas still managed to outscore Botswana by 14 goals to six, ending the third quarter on 44-15.

Botswana upped their game in the last quarter, with their goal attack, Thumisang Bagidi, worrying the Proteas’ defence. Dominating possession for the first time in the match, Botswana matched South Africa goal-for-goal in the last quarter, scoring 11 points apiece. The final score of 55-26 was not a true reflection of the game and South Africa will need to improve their performance if they hope to win the tournament.

“I’m happy about the win but not really happy about the performance,” said Kotze after the game. “Our defence was excellent during the first two quarters but tonight was the only opportunity I had to give the whole bench a chance. “From the third quarter, our whole defence was out of sync and also bringing Nosi (Goda) up as centre disturbed their rhythm.” Kotze said it was clear the team lacked trust when they had to release the ball quickly and it was one of the things they would sort out before their next game. “We will get the team back for some strategic training tomorrow morning,” she said.
“Nothing strenuous but we need to work on our focus and strategy.”

Kotze said Bootha had been suffering from flu and had struggled to breathe on the court. “It was a risk playing her tonight and she definitely won’t play tomorrow,” Kotze said. “Melissa is very young and I’d hoped to introduce her slowly so tonight was quicker than we all anticipated. “She stood her ground though and I do believe she has a great future.”

Botswana captain Kagisano Mawela said her team had started on a very low note but grew in confidence as the match progressed. “I don’t know if the girls were scared of the crowd or what, but we started very badly,” Mawela said. “We came back strongly in the second half after the coach had a chat to us at half-time. “We’re very disappointed but we hope to re-focus and come back fighting against Malawi tomorrow.”
Earlier, Malawi thrashed Zambia 75-32 showing why they wear the crown in Africa with a fast and furious display.

South Africa play Zambia and Malawi face Botswana at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria on Thursday. – Sapa, Jenny Bernstein


SCHOLTZ GETS HIS DAVIS CUP CAP AGAINST CANADA

Johannesburg, South Africa – The South African Davis Cup team will have a slightly new look when they face Canada in their upcoming World Group Playoff tie from September 14 to 16.

New Davis Cup cap Nikala Scholtz of Boland has been called up to play the tie vs Canada in September
Photo by Reg Caldecott


Tennis South Africa (TSA) have announced that 21-year-old Nikala Scholtz will be joining Izak van der Merwe (ranked 152), Rik de Voest (177), and Raven Klaasen (ranked 551) at the Uniprix Stadium in Montreal for the tie. The team is captain by John-Laffnie de Jager.

South Africa’s highest ranked player, Kevin Anderson, is not available to play in this tie. “Unfortunately, after much deliberation, I cannot commit to playing in the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Canada in September,” said Anderson. “This is not a decision I have taken lightly as I always consider it an honour to represent my country. However, the tie comes at the end of a long hard court season which has traditionally taken its toll on my body, especially my knee.

“In the summer of 2011, my knee injury reached a climax and I compromised it by playing Davis Cup - a decision which cost me eight months of rehabilitation. The knee is still healing and my doctor and physio believe I need to undergo further treatment and rehabilitation at the end of the hard court season, beginning straight after the US Open.

“I wish my compatriots great success and I will be right behind the team and look forward to joining up with them again when my body is fully ready.”
Scholtz is the son of former Western Province rugby player Calla Scholtz. From 1980 to 1989, Scholtz kicked a total of 1021 points in the Currie Cup series. Only four kickers have recorded a higher total in the history of the competition. A few years back he was called in to help the Stormers’ goal kickers improve their success rate.

TSA chief executive Ian Smith said this tie gave South Africa the opportunity to introduce new blood. “Of course it’s unfortunate not to have Kevin but we always need to look to our youngsters and build for the future. It will be a tough ask for the team but this is a perfect opportunity for Nikala and I hope he rises to the occasion.”

De Jager admitted he was also disappointed that Anderson has chosen not to play but understands he made a decision that staying healthy and his own career this year were his priorities. “I have to respect that and good luck to him.

“My job is now to focus on the guys who will be playing and making sure they are ready to win this very important tie for us. Izak, Rik and Raven are experienced Davis Cup players and know what to expect.

“Nikala Scholtz was our top junior and has been playing great tennis for the University of Mississippi. This will be a great experience for him and an opportunity to become part of the Davis Cup family.”
Canada and South Africa will meet for the second time although the first tie between the two nations was all the way back in 1913, when Canada claimed the victory. Although South Africa were initially awarded home advantage they asked to switch the tie to Canada for financial reasons.
Canada have spent just a single year in the World Group in their latest spell at the top level of Davis Cup competition. In the first round they were overpowered by a star-studded French team in Vancouver, leading them to have to fight for their place in the division for next year.

South Africa are bidding for a place in the top tier for the first time since 1998 but have missed out in the play-offs in each of the last three years. They saw off the challenge of Slovakia in Europe/Africa Zone Group I earlier this year to try and make it fourth-time lucky in their attempt at promotion.


NEW CAPTAINS FOR SPAR PROTEAS

Johannesburg, South Africa – Netball South Africa announced on Monday that a new captain and vice-captain would lead the SPAR Proteas in the forthcoming Diamond Challenge taking place from the 15th – 18th August in Pretoria.

Zanele Mdodana in action against Northern Ireland during the SPAR Challenge, played at the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town from 9th-11th July 2012.
Picture by Reg Caldecott

Maryka Holtzhausen in action against Northern Ireland during the SPAR Challenge, played at the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town from 9th-11th July 2012.
Picture by Reg Caldecott


Zanele Mdodana, from Nelson Mandela Bay, who has been Vice-Captain for the past year and a half has been promoted to captain, as Amanda Mynhardt is in New Zealand playing club netball. “Zanele is an extremely strong leader and a very experienced player. She has been working very closely with Amanda for the past year and a half, and I have full confidence that she will captain the team with great responsibility” said Proteas coach Elize Kotze.

Maryka Holtzhausen, the Freestate residing Protea goal attack, has been appointed as Vice-Captain of the SPAR Proteas and says that it is a great honour; “I am very proud to be made captain of the Proteas team, I consider it a blessing and will do my best to make my country proud.”

Kotze has a lot of confidence in her new vice-captain; “Maryka is one of the most senior players in the team. She showed her leadership captaining the World University Netball Championships team in July, and the players and I have a lot of confidence and trust in her. She has a very good working relationship with Zanele and I think that the two of them will complement each other well.”

The Proteas will take on Botswana, Zambia and long-time netball nemesis Malawi in the Diamond Challenge this week. “I am extremely excited going into the Diamond Challenge” said Kotze. “We have had some great training sessions, and we can now spend time on our combination and tactical work. The team is ready and we’re going out there to be the best in Africa.”


THREE IN A ROW FOR RAMPANT GAUTENG NORTH

Johannesburg, South Africa – Gauteng North clinched their third successive title when they thrashed Gauteng Central 60-41 in the final of the Spar national netball championships at the University of Johannesburg on Saturday.
Although they were the team most affected by the withdrawal of the national players for a Proteas training camp, Gauteng North sailed through the tournament without losing a match.

The winning Gauteng North team who beat Gauteng Central 60-41 in the final during day 6 of the SPAR National Netball Championships at University of Johannesburg on August 11, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Fltr Behind: Linda van der Westhuizen (Physio), Riana Bezuidenhout (Manager), Erin Burger (Asst coach), Jenny van Dyk (Coach), Carizka Jasson, Charmaine Sekhoalela, Melissa Myburgh,Lindie Lombaard, Shadine van der Merwe and Koena Phihlela.
Behind: Annemarie Frost, Zanne-Marie Pienaar, Rozanne Matthyse (Captain), Eldene Whelpton and Yolande du Preez.
Photo by Reg Caldecott

Player of the tournament Melissa Myburgh from Gauteng North in action against Gauteng Central in the final during day 6 of the SPAR National Netball Championships at University of Johannesburg on August 11, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Photo by Reg Caldecott


Gauteng Central went into an early lead in the final and were 16-13 ahead at the end of the first quarter, but Gauteng North came storming back in the second quarter, to lead 31-23 at halftime. Gauteng North narrowly won the third quarter by 14 goals to 11, (44-34) but were completely dominant in the final period, scoring 16 goals to Central’s seven.
“We were a bit shaken after the first quarter,” said Gauteng North coach Jenny van Dyk.
“I think we allowed Gauteng Central to dictate the pace, which is slower than the pace we are used to. From the second quarter, we decided to dictate the pace, and that worked. We were able to control the ball better and play according to our own game plan.”
Van Dyk had particular praise for goal attack Lindie Lombaard and goal shooter Melissa Myburgh, who heard on Friday that she had been included in the national team for the Diamond League against Malawi, Botswana and Zambia next week. Myburgh was also named player of the tournament.
“Lindie was able to turn over the ball on frequent occasions, and her main strength is her quick release into the circle. Melissa was having such a good tournament that it made sense to make sure that she had the ball in hand. But it was very much a team effort, with the players having complete trust in one another.”
She made no substitutions during the match, saying she believed that the players who started the match should finish it.
“I made a positional change, moving Rozanne Matthyse from centre to wing defence, because I could see that there was a problem with our defence. Our wing defence was giving their very fast wing attack too much space, but moving Rozanne to wing defence solved that problem.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) won the play-off for third place, beating Nelson Mandela Bay 42-24.
In the men’s section, Gauteng North racked up their fourth successive title, beating Ilembe 30-29 in a nail-biting encounter.
Tournament Awards
Most accurate Shooter
1-Danelle Willemse 86.6% (Free State Motheo)
Best Centre Court player
Simnikiwe Mdaka (Gauteng Central)
Best Defense player
Zanne-Marie Pienaar (Gauteng North)
Best Shooter
Danelle Willemse (Free State Motheo)
Overall player of the tournament
Melissa Myburg (Gauteng North)


ONE NEW CAP IN NETBALL TEAM

Johannesburg, South Africa - There is just one new cap in the 12-member SPAR South African netball team announced by Netball South Africa (NSA) on Friday night. The team will play in the Diamond Challenge against Malawi, Botswana and Zambia in Pretoria next week.

Gauteng North’s Melissa Myburgh has been included in the place of goal shooter Claudia Basson, who was unavailable for selection due to work commitments. “We had to make some changes from the team that beat Northern Ireland 3-0 in the SPAR Challenge Series last month,” said NSA Director of Selectors, Christine du Preez. “Claudia has other commitments, Erin Berger is injured and Amanda Mynhardt has gone back to New Zealand, where she is gaining valuable experience playing club netball.”

Du Preez said the selectors had also named a squad of 28 to attend training camps ahead of the Quad Series against netball powerhouses Australia, New Zealand and England later this year. “The squad includes four players for each position, and we have graded them so that we can check on their progress,” said Du Preez.

She said South Africa’s main priority in the Diamond Challenge was to ensure that South Africa beat Malawi, who have long been South Africa’s nemesis. Although the Proteas beat Malawi in the World Championships in Singapore last year, the “Queens” are currently ranked above South Africa in the world rankings. NSA have queried the situation with the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA), but as Du Preez pointed out, victory over Malawi in the Diamond Challenge should resolve the situation. “We don’t know too much about Botswana and Zambia, but we believe that if we can beat Malawi, we will be able to win the Diamond Challenge and get back to number five on the IFNA rankings.”

Gauteng North and Free State both have four players in the team, KwaZulu Natal has two, and Nelson Mandela Bay and Ekurhuleni have one each.

SPAR National Team: Chrisna Bootha, Maryka Holtzhausen, Melissa Myburgh, Zanele Mdodana (Captain), Bongiwe Msomi, Thuli Qegu, Precious Methembu, Anneret Viljoen, Karla Mostert, Vanes-Mari du Toit, Adele Niemand, Nosiphiwo Goda.


ALL GAUTENG FINAL AT NETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Johannesburg, South Africa - Defending champions Gauteng North appear set for a third successive title after beating Nelson Mandela Bay 47-36 in the first semifinal at the SPAR National Championships at the University of Johannesburg on Friday.

Simnikiwe Mdaka from Gauteng Central in action against Dr Kenneth Kaunda in the semifinals during day 5 of the SPAR National Championships at University of Johannesburg
Photo by Reg Caldecott

  • Melissa Myburgh from Gauteng North (Right) and Zanele Vimbela from Nelson Mandela Bay compete for the ball in the semifinals during day 5 of the SPAR National Championships at University of Johannesburg
    Photo by Reg Caldecott

They will meet Gauteng Central in the final on Saturday, after their southern neighbours overpowered Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) 44-37 in the other semifinal.

Gauteng North were unbeaten in the group stages and moved serenely into the final stages.
“I think the secret of our success has been playing good solid netball,” said coach Jenny van Dyk. “We have been very consistent throughout the tournament, and I believe that if we carry on this way, we will win tomorrow.”

Although Gauteng North were the team most affected by the withdrawal of the national players for a SPAR Proteas training camp, Van Dyk said one of her team’s strengths was its depth of talent. “For instance, we were able to take a former Protea player, Annemarie Frost, off the bench and bring her into the action, and when you can do that, you are always going to have an advantage,” she said.

Gauteng North went into the lead from the first quarter, and consistently outscored the Eastern Cape side, until the final quarter, when NMB scored 12 goals to Gauteng North’s nine. “I think we just lost our focus a bit in that last quarter, but we will talk about that, and it won’t happen tomorrow,” said Van Dyk.

Gauteng Central coach Elsje Jordaan was thrilled by her team’s achievement. In recent years, Gauteng Central have languished in the nether regions of the A-section, but have been rejuvenated since Jordaan, a sports scientist and former Protea captain, took over. What makes their transformation even more impressive is that the team includes no students but is made up entirely of working women, who had to take leave to participate in the tournament. “We’ve worked very hard to achieve this,” said Jordaan. “We’ve been training four times a week for the past three months, and the players have been very motivated by the influence of the Olympic Games. We’ve got a symbolic gold medal, which we touch before every practice and every match.”

Gauteng Central and Dr Kenneth Kaunda were level at the end of the first and second quarters, but Gauteng Central pulled away in the third. “That was part of our strategy,” said Jordaan. “We knew that Kenneth Kaunda always struggles a bit in the third quarter. We wanted to wear them down in the first half, and then come back strongly in the third. We started the final quarter 10 goals ahead. It’s very hard to make up the difference when you are so far behind. Kenneth Kaunda came hard at us in the final quarter, and I had a few anxious moments, but I knew we had a big enough lead to win.” Kenneth Kaunda won the last quarter by 12 goals to nine.

Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Nelson Mandela Bay will meet in the third place play-off at 10 o’clock on Saturday morning, with the final being played at 11


UPSETS IN NETBALL QUARTERFINALS

Johannesburg, South Africa - Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) caused an upset when they beat Free State Motheo 47-41 in the quarterfinals of the SPAR National Netball Championships at the University of Johannesburg on Thursday.

Mampho Totetsi from Nelson Mandela Bay in action against Ekurhuleni during day 4 of the SPAR National Netball Championships.
Photo by Reg Caldecott

Lauren Christians from Free State Motheo (left) and Rosie Mdakeng of Dr Kenneth Kaunda compete for the ball during day 4 of the SPAR National Netball Championships at University of Johannesburg on August 09, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Photo by Reg Caldecott

Tskane Mbewe from Gauteng Central shoots for goal against Western Province during day 4 of the SPAR National Netball Championships. Wency Katchatako defending.
Photo by Reg Caldecott

Eldene Whelpton from Gauteng North in action against Amathole during day 4 of the SPAR National Netball Championships
Photo by Reg Caldecott


Free State were unbeaten during the pool stages, although they drew their match against Ekurhuleni, and appeared to be sure of a place in the semifinals, whereas Kenneth Kaunda finished fourth in their group. “I told the players their real tournament started today,” said coach Dorette Badenhorst. “I said they must forget about everything that had happened before, and just have faith in themselves and in each other. “It was very much a team effort, and we just stuck to our game plan and it worked,” said Badenhorst.

Free State led 13-7 after the first quarter, and were 21-19 ahead at half time, but Kenneth Kaunda pulled themselves back in the third quarter, to lead by 34 goals to 32. In the final quarter, it was virtually one-way traffic, with Kenneth Kaunda outscoring Free State by 13 goals to nine.

Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern Province) also caused something of an upset when they beat Ekurhuleni 45-44 in a nail-biting match. “It was a match of two halves,” said coach Reg Sharp. “We were seven ahead at halftime, and I made some changes to the team, but Ekurhuleni came back strongly in the third quarter, to go two ahead. I put two new shooters in for the final quarter, and I think that threw Ekurhuleni. We were playing catch-up, but then we brought ourselves back. “It was a great game, and it could have gone either way. Our senior players came through when it was necessary,” said Sharp.

The other two quarterfinals went according to plan, with Gauteng Central beating Western Province convincingly by 49 goals to 37, and defending champions Gauteng North thrashing Amathole 61-38.

Gauteng North will meet Nelson Mandela Bay in the first semifinal on Friday, and Gauteng Central will play Dr Kenneth Kaunda in the other semi. Western Province, Free State, Amathole and Ekurhuleni will compete in the play-offs for positions five to eight, while Gauteng West and Frances Baard will vie for position nine.


NETBALL WOMEN JOIN HANDS IN CELEBRATION OF WOMEN’S DAY

Johannesburg, South Africa – Some of our favourite women in netball joined hands today to celebrate Women’s Day at the SPAR National Netball Championships, being held at the University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park.

From left: Noma Kotelo Director Sport Support Services Sports and Recreation, Elize Kotze SPAR Proteas coach, Zanele Mdodana SPAR Proteas vice-captain, Blanche de la Guerre Vice-President Netball South Africa, and Belinda Nel Sponsorship Manager SPAR.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


The tournament is host to over 1200 netball players, and is testimony to the love and passion that netball women have for their sport. Teams travel from all over South Africa to take part in this annual tournament that provides a platform for talent seeking and an opportunity for national netball teams to play against the best in the country. Vice-President Netball South Africa Blanche de la Guerre expressed that netball players share something special despite all the trials that they may face to play the sport they love; “When you play netball, you have friends and sisters for a lifetime.”


GAUTENG NORTH AND FREE STATE CONTINUE TO DOMINATE AT NETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Johannesburg, South Africa - Defending champions Gauteng North continued their march to the next round on the third day of the SPAR National Netball Championships at the University of Johannesburg on Wednesday, with decisive victories over Gauteng Central and Frances Baard (Griqualand West).

Zanne-Marie Pienaar from Gauteng North in action against Gauteng Central during day 3 of the SPAR National Netball Championships at University of Johannesburg
Photo by Reg Caldecott

Tamzin Dreyer from Boland (behind) and Zandre Kruger from Dr Kenneth Kaunda compete for the ball during day 3 of the SPAR National Netball Championships at University of Johannesburg
Photo by Reg Caldecott


Gauteng North beat their neighbours 50-35, and thrashed Frances Baard 67-47. With three rounds of play to make up after play was suspended because of snow on Tuesday, play got underway early and continued until after nine o’clock on Wednesday. The top four teams in the two Section A pools will play in the quarter-finals on Thursday, with the semifinals being played on Friday and the final on Saturday.

Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) had mixed fortunes, beating former netball powerhouse Boland 46-32, but losing narrowly (43-41) to Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern Province) later in the day. With Gauteng North and Gauteng Central likely to clinch the top spots in Pool 1, NMB and Kenneth Kaunda were fighting it out for a better place in the quarterfinals, but NMB coach Reg Sharp believed his team will give any team a good run for their money in the quarters. “It’s a fairly young team, and they are on a bit of a learning curve,” he said. “It was a bit of a blow when their coach Lana Krige and their captain Zanele Mdodana, were withdrawn because of the SPAR Proteas training camp, but they have come out fighting,” he said. “We hit the top two teams, Gauteng North and Gauteng Central, on the first day, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because we have a second chance against them in the later rounds. Both were close matches – we lost by four or five goals in each match, and in fact we were closer than the scores suggest,” said Sharp.

In Pool 2, Free State Motheo continued to dominate, with Ekurhuleni likely to end second in the pool after beating Gauteng West 53-33, and Amathole (Border) 54-25. It was a bad day at the office for Amathole, who were beaten 40-25 by Western Province. In their only match of the day, Free State Motheo thumped Gauteng West 75-30.


SOUTH AFRICA’S JUNIOR TENNIS STARS JET OFF TO THE WORLD CHAMPS

Johannesburg, South Africa - After dominating the African Junior Championships in Algeria in June, the boys under 14 South African tennis team travel to the Czech Republic next week for the World Junior Championships.

The victorious team South Africa who won the World Junior Competition Qualifier at Algeria in June this year; from L-R: Calvin Jordaan, Hubert Badenhorst, Jason Smit (Coach) and Jandre Lessing.


The team comprising of Calvin Jordaan (Western Province), Hubert Badenhorst (Free State) and Jandre Lessing (Eastern Province) will be coached by Cape Town’s Jason Smit.

The tournament will be played in Prostejov, Czech Republic from Monday 13 to Saturday 18 August.

The 16 qualifying teams will be split into 4 groups of 4. Three days of Round Robin will be followed by a knockout stage to place teams from 1st to 16th position. Each tie will consist of 2 singles and 1 doubles rubber. All teams will play 5 ties.

“We wish our boys all the very best in what has become one of the toughest junior sporting competitions” said Ian Smith, CEO of Tennis South Africa. “Not only will our team be representing South Africa but also the continent and with Calvin Jordaan having one the African Junior Championships we are confident that the team will have it in them to impress during the week.”


SNOW STOPS PLAY AT NETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Johannesburg, South Africa - Heavy flurries of snow disrupted play at the SPAR National Championships at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Tuesday, with the organisers deciding at 2.45pm to suspend play for the day.

“There was a heavy flurry of snow in the early afternoon, which left the courts very wet,” said Tournament Director Mami Diale. “It was also very cold and we were concerned about the possibility of injuries. We have asked everyone to report to UJ at seven o’clock tomorrow morning, and we will decide then what to do.

In the meantime we are looking for indoor venues. The problem is that there are more than 1200 players taking part in the tournament, and most indoor venues can accommodate two matches at the most. So we are just hoping for better weather tomorrow. “Luckily, we had a lighter programme today, so we only lost three rounds of play.”

Last year’s runners-up, Free State Motheo were playing Western Province (WP) in an A-section Pool 2 match when the snow was at its heaviest. Coach Burta de Kock said the conditions had made play difficult, but she was pleased with the outcome, with Free State beating WP 47-33. “Because of the conditions, we couldn’t really stick to our game plans, and had to adjust them as we went along,” she said.

Free State are without three SPAR Proteas, who have been withdrawn to attend a training camp ahead of the Diamond League against Botswana, Zambia and Malawi next week. “Those three players include our captain and vice captain, which is a big loss,” said De Kock.
“However, this has opened up opportunities for younger players to show us what they can do. I’m very excited about our young goalshooter, Danielle Willemse. She is only 18, but she has been superb. She is as solid as a rock, a very accurate shooter and I think she has a great future.”

In their earlier match, Free State drew 59-all with Ekurhuleni. “I always knew that was going to be a tough match,” said De Kock. “There are some exceptional players in the Ekurhuleni team. But after drawing that match, I knew we would have to come back hard against WP if we were going to advance in the tournament.”

In the only other Pool 2 match of the day, Amathole (formerly Border) beat Gauteng West 52-34. Defending champions Gauteng North continued to show their dominance, beating Boland 58-42, to remain unbeaten so far. Gauteng Central beat Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) 40-36, and Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern Province) beat Frances Baard (Griqualand West) 61-45.


CELEBRATING OUR INSPIRATIONAL WHEEL WOMEN

Johannesburg, South Africa – National Women’s Day, 9 August 2012 is an annual public holiday that commemorates the inspiring display of women’s courage and strength in South Africa’s history. It is a day where all South Africans join together and reminisce the memory of the great women who moulded South Africa, and a day to celebrate the women who continue to lead and inspire us forward.

Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) are proud of our female athletes, not only for what they have accomplished personally, but for the contribution they have made in growing the sport. We, and our athletes, would not be as strong if it were not for the significant contribution and support we receive from all the women whose lives we touch, whether it is the physio’s, doctors or trainers working with the athletes, or the athletes support system of caring mothers and sisters, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, girlfriends and wife’s. Your unwavering support, and unconditional love for the athletes is greatly appreciated. It is for these reasons, and many more, we celebrate National Women’s Day.

One of WTSA’s phenomenal women is Kgothatso Montjane, South Africa’s no.1 in the Women’s division and ranked 10th internationally. “Kg” as she is fondly known, has shown strength of character, immense discipline, and unrelenting determination. She has confronted life’s challenges head on, to stand tall and be a role model we can all respect and admire. “Kg” was born with a congenital birth defect leaving her no alternative but to have her left leg amputated below the knee. She has a BSc degree and is currently studying Retail Management at UJ. Kgothatso Montjane is no will be representing South Africa at the upcoming London Paralympics at the end of August. We wish “Kg” and the other 3 WTSA players, Lucas Sithole, Evans Maripa and Sydwell Mathonsi all the best for the 2012 Paralympics. Your achievements are an inspiration.

Other inspirational women in our fold are Rose van der Meer and Celia du Toit. Rose is the winner of the recent Airports Company South Africa Soweto Open and Airports Company South Africa Polokwane Open. Rose is ranked no.2 in the Women’s division in South Africa, and no.35 internationally. Rose is a gentle but extremely driven woman. Her soft nature is complimented by a firm determination to succeed. She personifies the true essence of a woman. Celia du Toit, SA’s no.3 ranked woman is another remarkable woman. She commented that “Balancing a successful career in the banking industry, being a wife and a top wheelchair tennis player is not always easy, but is rewarding.” A car accident at the age of 14 years changed her life forever. Although the accident left her wheelchair bound, she believes it taught her to always count her blessings and go the extra mile.
Looking at role models of the future, Mariska Venter and Mabel Mankgele are two such women. They are making a statement on the court, and we believe will be an inspiration to all women in time to come.

WTSA’s Manager Karen Losch said: “Today, we celebrate and toast the contribution we as women make to our country, our employers, our families and our communities. It is often the little things we do that are forgotten, the mountains we move to create stability, the pieces we pick up and put together to mould our loved ones, and the love only a mother can give. To those women who are able to rise above this, and provide role models for us all, we salute you. To our athletes, and “Kg” in particular, continue to shine. We will watch you in London, whether you come back with a medal or not, you will always be an inspiration us. ”

Participation in local and international tournaments is made possible by a generous sponsorship from Airports Company South Africa, the official sponsor of the sport.


KWA-ZULU NATAL TO HOST INTERNATIONAL SENIORS TOURNAMENT

Johannesburg, South Africa – The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Tennis South Africa (TSA) announced today (Tuesday) that a ITF Seniors Tournament would be played in Durban from 8-12 August 2012.

The international world ranking Senior tournament will be called the KZN Seniors ITF and will be played at the grand old lady of tennis of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Mayville, Durban the Westridge Park Tennis Stadium.

The tournament will have eight age groups namely the U/35, U/40, U/45, U/50, U55, U/60, U65 (mixed doubles only), U/70 (only men’s singles and men’s doubles). Players will earn national and international ranking points from the tournament. A strong entry of 130 players has been confirmed by the tournament organisers including players from Great Britain.

“Seniors tennis is in a very healthy state in South Africa with well over 2000 registered players. Many of our senior players participate on the international ITF senior tour so to have a world ranking event at home in their backyard gives them a great opportunity of earning all important points and enter or climb up the world rankings” said Ronnie van’t Hof, TSA Board Member responsible for Seniors Tennis.


DEFENDING CHAMPIONS OFF TO A GOOD START

Johannesburg, South Africa - Gauteng North got the defence of their title off to a good start with victories in both their matches on the opening day of the SPAR National Netball Championships at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Monday.

Eldene Whelpton from Gauteng North (right) and Success Lekaba from Dr Kenneth Kaunda compete for the ball during day 1 of the SPAR National Netball Championships at University of Johannesburg.
Photo by Reg Caldecott / Gallo Images


In their first match, a depleted Gauteng North beat Dr Kenneth Kaunda (North West South) 42-37, after leading 19-16 at half-time. In their second match of the day, they beat Nelson Mandela Bay 51-45 in a hard-fought match, which saw some outstanding intercepts and excellent play by both teams.

The defending champions, with six players in the national team, are the team most affected by the absence of the SPAR Proteas, who are attending a training camp at the UJ campus in preparation for the Diamond League against Malawi, Botswana and Zambia next week, and have called up members of their Under-21 team to fill in the gaps.

Eleven teams have been included in the A-section, which has been divided into two pools, with the top two teams in each pool going through to the semifinals on Friday. The final will be played at midday on Saturday.

Pool 1 comprises Gauteng North, Nelson Mandela Bay, Boland, Frances Baard (Griqualand West), Kenneth Kaunda and Gauteng Central, while Pool 2 is made up of Free State Motheo, Ekurhuleni, Western Province, Gauteng West and Amathole (Border).

In other Pool 1 matches played on Monday, Gauteng Central achieved a narrow 45-41 victory over Nelson Mandela Bay, after leading 25-29 at halftime; Boland beat Frances Baard 51-42 and Dr Kenneth Kaunda thrashed Frances Baard 63-23.

In the pool 2 matches, Western Province (WP) coasted to a 56-30 win over Gauteng West in the morning, before beating Ekurhuleni 42-36 in their later match and last year’s runners-up, Free State Motheo easily beat Amathole 53-28.


REACH FOR A DREAM FULFIL THE DREAM FOR JOSEPH MORRIS GILBERT

Pretoria, South Africa – Reach For A Dream fulfilled the dream of 17 year old Morris Gilbert of Babsfontein in Pretoria today. Young cancer sufferer, Morris’ dream of having a new Babolat tennis racquet was fulfilled as Reach For A Dream arranged with leading tennis manufacturer Babolat and professional ATP World Tour tennis player Jeff Coetzee to give Morris a magical tennis experience. Morris loves to play tennis and is said to “eat, sleep and drink tennis.” Family, friends and local media gathered at the Garsfontein High School to support Morris as he enjoyed meeting and playing tennis with his hero Jeff Coetzee.

Joseph Morris Gilbert and South African professional tennis player, Jeff Coetzee shaking hands after their tennis session
Pictures by: BLD Communications

Professional ATP and South African Davis Cup player Jeff Coetzee handing over gifts of a special edition Babolat tennis racquet and Oakley wrist watch to Joseph Morris Gilbert at the Garsfontein High School in Pretoria today.


The Reach For A Dream organisation helps children between the ages of 3 and 18 who have been diagnosed as having a life-threatening illness by a medical practitioner. They do not discriminate based on race, culture, financial status or any other factor. Each child living with a life-threatening illness is given a chance to dream, and the opportunity to reach that dream.

Morris is a learner at the Garsfontein High School and a member of the 1st Tennis Team. His hobbies includes tennis, hunting and outdoor activities.

“It was our absolute pleasure to assist in fulfilling the dream of Morris by donating the special edition frame” said Paul Anderson of Babolat South Africa. “Babolat pride themselves in being associated with many of the world’s best players so it comes as no surprise that Morris’s dream was having his very own Baboltat racquet” continued Anderson.

Jeff Coetzee played a large part in helping Morris reach his dream. Jeff flew up from his home in Cape Town to meet Morris and his mother Anita a week ago. Today’s experience was a big surprise for Morris and as a gesture of goodwill, Jeff Coetzee returned to Pretoria and gave his “new friend” Morris one of his sponsored Oakley wrist watches which Morris had admired during their first meeting.

Fellow Garsfontein High School students and tennis players stood a guard of honor for Morris when he and Jeff Coetzee walked onto the tennis court for casual tennis match.

If you would like more information about this dream, please contact Yolande le Grange at 012-3681542 / 0834560540 or mail yolande@reachforadream.org.za.


OPPORTUNITIES FOR RISING STARS AT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Johannesburg, South Africa - The outcome of the SPAR National Championships next week has been thrown wide open with the news that members of the national team will not be taking part.

The championships, featuring more than 80 teams from around South Africa, will be played at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) from Monday August 6 to Saturday August 11. Members of the national team have been withdrawn so that they can attend a training camp ahead of the Diamond Challenge, in which South Africa will play a series of matches against Malawi, Botswana and Tanzania from August 15 to 18.

Jenny van Dyk, coach of defending champions Gauteng North, said the withdrawal of the Proteas from her team opened up exciting opportunities for rising stars. “We are the team that is most affected by the Proteas not playing for us, but we have a lot of depth of talent, and we have a very good structure in Gauteng North. I have pulled in some Under21 players, and also some student players. It is a wonderful opportunity for younger players to get some experience at a senior level, and it also gives Elize Kotze (national coach) a chance to see who is likely to make it.”

Four members of the Gauteng North team – Vanes-Mari du Toit, Chrisna Bootha, Erin Burger and Anneret Viljoen – will be attending the Proteas training camp. “It will be interesting to see what will happen at the national championships,” said Van Dyk. “Most of the top teams are affected by the withdrawal of the Proteas, so it is difficult to gauge how good they are going to be. We will have to learn very quickly about the strengths and weaknesses of the other teams. It is going to be very exciting. Obviously we are going there to win, and I believe that we can do it for the third time in a row.”

The teams likely to provide the stiffest competition include last year’s defeated finalists, Free State Motheo, Ekurhuleni and Nelson Mandela Bay, while Western Province and Boland can never be under-estimated.

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