INTERNATIONAL TENNIS RECOGNISES SOUTH AFRICAN ADMINISTRATORS

• International Tennis Federation (ITF) appoints South African’s to ITF Committees and Commissions

Johannesburg, South Africa - In a boost for tennis and sport in South Africa, The International Tennis Federation (ITF) confirmed that they had appointed four South African tennis administrators to various ITF Commissions.

The appointments will be for the 2015-2017 period.

TSA President and Acting CEO, Gavin Crookes of Kwa-Zulu Natal will serve as a Member of the Non World Group Davis Cup Fed Cup Taskforce.

Riad Davids of the Western Cape, the TSA Vice President will serve as a Member of the ITF Junior Committee.

The third Board member selected by the ITF is Ronnie Van’t Hof of Gauteng who will join the ITF Seniors Committee.

Leon Freimond of Pretoria who is the current TSA Manager of Performance Tennis, Coaching and Schools will serve on the Coaches Commission.

David Haggerty, President of the ITF said that the appointment of the South African’s was based on information received from the individuals from a wide variety of sources and based on this input the ITF believed the appointed South Africans background, skills, experience, competencies, talent and passion would truly contribute in helping the ITF make a difference.

“The next few years will be important for the ITF as we strive to increase tennis participation and achieve the ITF’s strategic priorities” said Haggerty. “Committees and Commissions will play a critical role in providing the resources needed to meet the challenges that lie ahead and I am sure the appointed gentlemen from South Africa will contribute to meeting those challenges” continued Haggerty.


EXCITING YEAR FOR NETBALL

Pretoria, South Africa- 2015 was a busy and exciting year for netball, South Africa’s biggest women’s sport, and particularly for the SPAR national team.

The SPAR Protea netball team celebrate after they defeated Malawi in the final of the Diamond Challenge netball tournament at UGU Sports Centre in June in Margate, South Africa. South Africa beat Malawi 40-35 in the final

Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Gert Oosthuizen during a visit to the Netball World Cup at the Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia. The Deputy Minister travelled to Australia to give support to the SPAR Proteas who ended fifth overall.

Picture Credits: Reg Caldecott


The SPAR Proteas got into action early in the year, as they prepared for the all-important World Cup in Sydney, Australia, in August.

The sponsors, spearheaded by supermarket giant SPAR, threw their full weight behind the Proteas, who had numerous opportunities to test themselves in international competition, including their participation in the European netball championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The national team put up a good performance in Belfast, finishing second to England.

Netball South Africa showed their determination to do well by inviting former Australia coach Norma Plummer to participate in a training camp in Pretoria. Plummer coached Australia to victory in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, and is one of the most highly-respected coaches in world netball.

Plummer was later appointed to coach the Proteas at the SPAR Diamond Challenge against Malawi, Uganda and Zambia at the Ugu Sports Centre near Margate. There was great jubilation when it was announced during the Challenge that Plummer had also been appointed to coach the Proteas at the World Cup. Her influence was immediately evident, as the Proteas made short work of their African opponents, including their eternal nemesis, Malawi, and they won the Diamond Challenge in style.

The Proteas travelled to New Zealand before the World Cup for a three-Test series against the Silver Ferns, who are ranked second in the world. Although South Africa lost the series 3-0, it gave Plummer the opportunity to spend time with the team and put her ideas into practice.

SPAR sponsored a full media contingent to travel to Sydney, which provided South Africa with radio, television, written and social media reports on the Proteas in the World Cup.
Shortly before the start of the World Cup, South Africa were finally acknowledged as the fifth-ranked team in the world, and they maintained this status by finishing fifth in the competition. They lost their opening match to Malawi, but got their revenge in the fifth-place playoff, when they beat the Malawi Queens by 50 goals to 40. The general feeling was that if Plummer had had more time with the team, they could have done even better.
Shortly after the World Cup, the cream of South African netball gathered in Ugu for the Spar National Championships. For the first time, the senior and Under-21 championships were played simultaneously, and the participating teams were drawn from provinces rather than districts.
Netball South Africa (NSA) Director of Demarcation and Structures, Mami Diale explained that the aim of the new approach was to raise the standard of play at the tournament and to ensure that it was all high performance.
Although there were a few teething problems, most coaches welcomed the new format and agreed that it exposed more players to netball at the highest level. North West made a clean sweep at the tournament, walking away with the gold medals in both the senior A and B divisions, as well as in the Under-21 contests.
The Brutal Fruit Premier Netball League entered its second year, and proved even more popular than in its first year in 2014. It was notable that the difference between the stronger and weaker teams had shrunk, proving the value of giving players more game time.
NSA President Mimi Mthethwa said 2015 had been an important and successful year.
“We are particularly happy that we are having so much interaction on social media with our netball fans,” she said.
“The Brutal Fruit Premier League has captured their imagination and it is clear that there are many fans out there. We welcome their input, and take their criticism to heart. We aim to develop our relationship with our fans over the coming year,” she said.
While two former stalwarts of the national team, Amanda Mynhardt and Zanele Mdodana, announced they were hanging up their netball shoes, Mthethwa said the Brutal Fruit competition, and the SPAR national championships had shown that there was not shortage of talent in South Africa.
“I believe netball will continue to go from strength to strength,” said Mthethwa.


TENNIS FEAST THIS FESTIVE SEASON

Johannesburg, South Africa – Tennis holiday fever has hit the country with the start of the festive season and school holidays.

Leading tennis manufacturers Dunlop and Slazenger have announced their sponsorship of two major national ranking tournaments in December and January next year.
The two tournaments namely the Slazenger Classic and Gauteng North Dunlop Open will be played in Cape Town and Pretoria respectively.
The Slazenger Classic, presented by Western Province Tennis will be played from 19-23 December with the Gauteng North Dunlop Open taking place from 7-11 January 2016.

Both tournaments form part of the prestigious Tennis South Africa Series where players earn national ranking points and will be played over the festive and New Year season with Border KFC TSA Series (8-12 December) and Easter Province TSA Series (13-17 December) being part of the swing.

The tournaments will have singles and doubles events for boys and girls in the age groups 10 and under, 12 and under, 14 and under, 16 and under as well as for men and women in the open age group.

Gavin Crookes, President of Tennis South Africa said that the timing of the sponsorship and tournament swing was appropriate as it was being played during the peak holiday period.
“We welcome the sponsorship investment by Dunlop and Slazenger into the game and thank the company for their continued support to tennis development in the country. It will be great to welcome all the tennis families to the four events and let’s hope that the tournaments set the tone for a happy holiday period over this festive season.”

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