IRVETTE VAN ZYL IN POLE POSITION GRAND PRIX

Cape Town, South Africa - Two-times Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) has taken the early lead in the 2016 SPAR Grand Prix, after cruising to victory in the Cape Town Women’s 10km Challenge at Green Point on Sunday.
Van Zyl, who is in Britain to run in the London Marathon on Sunday, has 20 points. Lebogang Phalula (Boxer), who finished third in the Cape Town Challenge on Sunday, has 18 and Christine Kalmer (KPMG) has 16.
In a new venture, the six women who have won the Grand Prix title in the 10 years it has been in existence are each mentoring a junior runner, and the mentorship programme is reaping early rewards, as the top five in the Grand Prix Junior category are all members of the programme.
Two of them, Simonay Weitsz (9) and Ashleigh Simonis (10), finished in the top ten overall, while Nicole van der Merwe was 15th. Simonay, who has Mapaseka Makhanya as her mentor, heads the Junior category in the Grand Prix, with 10 points. Ashleigh, who has been paired with Lebogang Phalula, has eight, and Nicole, who has Van Zyl as her adviser, has six points.
The top runners were full of praise for the SPAR Challenge series after their race on Sunday.
SPAR has done so much for women’s road running,” said Van Zyl.
“When I won my first SPAR race in Pretoria 4 years ago there were only about 800 runners taking part – now there are thousands. These women inspire me to go out and train.”
Van Zyl said they all enjoyed running in a race that was all about women.
“In a mixed race, there are always men trying to stick with the leading women in the hopes of being seen on television, but the SPAR races are so different. It is wonderful to be the very first person to cross the finish line.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it had not been for SPAR,” said Van Zyl.
Lebogang Phalula, the reigning Grand Prix champion, said the Grand Prix had been crucial for her and for her twin sister, Diana-Lebo, who won the Grand Prix in 2014.
“My sister won a car, so we are able to get to training, and with the money I won last year, I was able to buy a house,” she said.
“Everyone wants to win the Grand Prix, and it certainly motivates us all to get out there and train.”
The next Challenge race is in Port Elizabeth on Saturday May 7.
SPAR GRAND PRIX STANDINGS AFTER CAPE TOWN

Open: 1 Irvette Van Zyl (Nedbank) 20 points ; 2 Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 18 ; 3 Christine Kalmer (KPMG) 16 ; 4 Nolene Conrad (KPMG) 14 ; 5 Cornelia Joubert (Boxer) 13 ; 6 Janie Grundling (Boxer) 12; 7 Keneilwe Sesing (KPMG) 10; 8 Rene Kalmer (Modern Athlete) 9; 9 Simonay Weitsz (KPMG) 8; 10 Ashleigh Simonis (Carbineers) 7;11 Murendwa Davhana (TUT) 6; 12 Thembi Baloyi (TUT) 5; 13 Liziwe Mabona (TUT) 4; 14 Ntombesintu Mfuzi (Temp) 3; 15 Nicole Van Der Merwe (KPMG) 2; 16 Poppy Mlambo (Boxer) 1
Junior: 1 Simonay Weitsz (KPMG) 10 points ; 2 Ashleigh Simonis (Carbineers) 9; 3 Nicole Van De Merwe (KPMG) 8; 4 Yandiswa Shange (Temp) 2; 5 Chery-Lee Schoeman (KPMG) 1
40-49 Yrs: 1 Ulrica Stander (FNB Multisport) 10 points; 2 Theresa Fourie (Temp) 9; 3 Janene Carey (Boxer) 3; 4 Obertina Kanyongo (WCAC) 2; 5 Suzette Vermaak (Temp) 1
50-55 Yrs: 1 Judy Bird (Midrand) 10 points ; 2 Elmarie Coetzee (FNB Multisport) 4; 3 Mariette Strauss (Tygerberg) 3; 4 Renee Scott (Temp) 2; 5 Bev Charters (VOB) 1
Clubs: 1 KPMG 69 points ; 2 Boxer 47; 3 Nedbank 33; 4 Carbineers 16; 5 TUT 15; 6 FNB Multisport 14; 7 Midrand 10


VAN ZYL BACK ON TOP

Cape Town, South Africa - Fresh from her victory in the 5000m at the South African Championships in Stellenbosch on Friday, Irvette van Zyl (Nedbank) cruised to victory in the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday morning, in a time of 33.24 minutes. Teammate Rutendo Nyahora was second in 33.52, followed by Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) in 34 minutes.

Irvette van Zyl after crossing the finishing line to win the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Green Point in Cape Town.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


A smiling Nyahora took the early lead, but Van Zyl overtook over at about three kilometres, and never looked back. Van Zyl, who gave birth to a son seven months ago, looked relaxed as she ate up the kilometres.
“I wasn’t planning to run fast,” she said. “My coach told me not to go under 33.20, because he didn’t want me too tired for the London Marathon next Sunday.
“I really didn’t expect to win, but everything went my way today. My legs are feeling alive again, and I’m very happy at the moment. I’m enjoying my running and I am enjoying motherhood.”
Van Zyl was pregnant for much of 2015, and before that had a number of injuries, but she appears to be in the form of her life. Earlier this year, she won the Two Oceans half marathon, and in fact has not been beaten in 2016.

Nyahora said she had enjoyed the race. “Everything went according to plan,” she said.
“I ran a marathon last week, so I knew I would be tired, but I ran better than I expected. The weather was perfect for running today.”
Phalula, the reigning SPAR Grand Prix champion, said she had also enjoyed the race, although she was tired after running the 1500m at the national championships on Saturday.
Van Zyl leaves for London on Tuesday, where she hopes to qualify for the marathon in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.
“We’ll see what happens there,” she said.
“If I don’t make it, I’ll try to qualify in one of the track events.”
Phalula is heading for Port Elizabeth, where she will run in the 1500 and 5000 metre events at the Night Series meeting on Tuesday, hoping to qualify for the Olympics. Her twin sister, Diana-Lebo, missed the Cape Town race because she was running a marathon in the Netherlands, also aiming to qualify for Rio.
A record entry of 27 532 took part in the 10km race and the 5km Fun Run.
In a new innovation, the six women who have won the SPAR Grand Prix are all mentoring promising junior runners.
Rene Kalmer, who has won more Challenge titles than any other runner, said she was happy to be mentoring a younger runner.
“I chose Chery-Lee Schoeman, because she is at the school I used to teach at, and because I think she has a great future.
“I think it is working well, and I predict great things for her.”
Chery-Lee, who was first junior home in several 10km races last year, said she was learning a lot from Kalmer.
“We don’t actually train together, but she is always ready to give me advice and to help me if I have a problem,” she said.
The Cape Town Challenge is the first in the five-race SPAR Challenge series. The second race is in Port Elizabeth on May 5, to be followed in June by the Durban race. The Pretoria Challenge will be run in September, and the Johannesburg race in October.

RESULTS OF SPAR WOMEN’S 10KM CHALLENGE - CAPE TOWN

Open: 1 Irvette van Blerk (Nedbank CGA) 33.24; 2 Rutendo Nyahora (Nedbank CGA) 33.52; 3. Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 34.00; 4 Onneile Dintwe (Nedbank CGA) 34.06; 5 Christine Kalmer (KPMG) 34.11; 6 Tish Jones (KPMG) 34.14; 7 Nolene Conrad (KPMG) 34.53; 8 Cornelia Joubert (Boxer) 34.57; 9 Janie Grundling (Boxer) 35.13; 10 Fortunate Chidzivo (Nedbank WP) 35.27
Junior: 1 Simonay Weitsz (KPMG) 35.39; 2 Ashleigh Simonis (Carbineers WP) 35.46; 3 Nicloe Der Merwe (KPMG) 36.32 ; 4 Yandiswa Shange (Yandiswa) 38.29 ; 5 Chery-lee Schoeman (KPMG) 40.16
40-49 Yrs: 1 Ulrica Stander (FNB Multisport) 37.46 ; 2 Theressa Fourie (Temp) 37.49; 3 Janene Carey (Boxer) 39.07; 4 Obertina Khayongo (WCAC) 40.04; 5 Suzette Vermaak (Temp) 40.27
50-59 Yrs: 1 Judy Bird (Temp) 39:43; 2 Elmarie Coetzee (FNB) 40.24; 3 Mariette Strauss (TygerbergNLC) 42.56; 4 Renee Scott (Temp) 43.37; 5 Bev Charters (VOB) 44.53
60-69 Yrs: 1 Margie Saunders (Temp) 42.30; 2 Nancy Will (Pinelands) 43.55; 3 Charmaine Cupido (Nedbank WP) 47.52; 4 Leonie Van Wyk (Temp) 58.57; 5 Seugnet Van Wyk (Temp) 59.20
70-79 Yrs: 1 Veronica Van Niekerk (Temp) 49.48; 2 Pixie Sparg (Celtic Harriers) 54.53; 3 Marlene James (Pinelands) 58.26; 4 Wilbe Fourie (Temp) 01.05.25; 5 Nola Wahl (Temp) 01.06.31


TOP PERFORMANCES EXPECTED AT SEASON OPENING SPAR WOMEN’S 10KM CHALLENGE

Cape Town, South Africa - There is an air of excitement ahead of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge in Cape Town on Sunday morning.
Most of South Africa’s top female roadrunners will be taking part in the race, which starts at the Cape Town Stadium and ends at Greenpoint Common. The standard is expected to be very high, with many of the top runners trying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August. The SPAR Grand Prix champion in 2014, Diana-Lebo Phalula will be in the Netherlands, where she hopes to qualify for the marathon, while last year’s Cape Town winner, Mapaseka Makhanya, has withdrawn for personal reasons.
However, runners of the calibre of former Cape Town winners Rutando Nyahora and Rene Kalmer, as well as Kalmer’s sister Christine, Phalula’s twin, Lebogang, and Jenna Challenor will be fighting it out for top honours. Irvette van Zyl, who won the Two Oceans half marathon in March, appears to be back at full strength after giving birth to a son in September, and many predict that this could be Van Zyl’s year.
In addition to trying to win the Cape Town race, which is the first in the five-race Challenge series, the top runners will be striving to win valuable Grand Prix points. The Grand Prix is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and with prize money totalling more than R400 000 rand, there is plenty of incentive for runners to do well. The Grand Prix winner will take home R160 000 and the runner-up will receive R53 000.
In an exciting new development, the six women who have won the Grand Prix title, will each take a junior athlete under her wing. This mentorship programme will include the junior runners travelling to the races with their mentors, and having access to advice about training, strategy and various aspects of competition.
The six juniors who have been selected for the programme are no strangers to the SPAR Challenge series and include the three who took top honours in the junior category of the Grand Prix last year.
Kalmer, who has won the Grand Prix title three times, has been paired with Chery-Lee Schoeman, who represents Gauteng in track and cross-country. In 2015, Chery-Lee was first junior home in several 10km road races, including the Northgate 10km, where she was third overall in 38.44 minutes.
Two times Grand Prix winner Van Zyl will mentor Nicole van der Merwe, who won the junior Grand Prix title last year. Van der Merwe has represented South Africa in cross-country and has an impressive personal best time of 34.52. She was first junior home in the Durban Challenge race last year.
Simonay Weitsz, who boasts eight national athletic titles, and who has represented South Africa in athletics and cross-country, has been paired with Mapaseka Makhanya. Simonay was first junior home in the Challenge race in Port Elizabeth last year, and was second in Durban.
Lebohang Ramela was handpicked by her mentor, the inaugural Grand Prix winner, Poppy Mlambo, who says her protégé is a future star. Lebohang excelled at the South African schools championships, and won three 5km races in 2015, including the Totalsports 5km, in a record time of 17.16 minutes.
Diana-Lebo Phalula will mentor Tuks High School pupil Keletso Senosi, another young runner who has excelled in track and cross-country. She won gold at the AGN 10km Championships, and was one of the stars of the SA Schools Track and Field championships.
Lebogang Phalula has been paired with up and coming Ashleigh Simonis of the Western Cape..
SPAR has announced that there will be a cash incentive for the combination that do best over the five races, with their top three performances taken into consideration.
Kalmer, who has won more Challenge races than any other runner, said she was very excited about the mentorship programme.
“I think it’s awesome that we are going to mentor some of the junior runners,” she said.
“I feel privileged to be able to give something back.”
She said the junior runners would find that running was not always plain sailing, but their mentors would be there to help them through the bad patches.
“The juniors will travel to the SPAR races with us, so we will be able to advise them and to help them with training programmes and race tactics. I think we will be like a helpline for the juniors. It is all part of building for the future,” said Kalmer.


NEW VENUE FOR THE WILSON R100 000.00 TENNIS CHALLENGE

Johannesburg, South Africa – After the great success of the inaugural Wilson R100 000 Challenge in 2013, the World’s leading tennis brand Wilson have announced that they will once again host the open tennis tournament this year.

The Wilson R100 000.00 Challenge will be played at the Gauteng East Tennis Centre, Country Lane, Lakefield, Benoni, from 27 April to 02 May 2016. The big advantage being that these dates include 2 public holidays and a week-end.

Brothers Brad and Brett Summers, Directors of The Golf Racket, who are the distributors of Wilson products throughout South Africa are delighted to once again be hosting the event and with it are happy to be putting something back into the sport they love.

The tournament will be hosting the following events namely an Open Men’s and Women’s event together with a Boys and Girls U/14 event. All events will have a singles and doubles draw.

Wilson are happy to announce that prize money will again be paid from the quarter finals. Junior recipients will get vouchers to the value of the allocated prize money as the rules of tennis do not allow juniors to receive prize money.

The sponsors will have the rights to 4 wild card nominations into the Open tournament and the tournament will be run under the auspices of Tennis South Africa (TSA).

Tennis South Africa’s President, Gavin Crookes praised Wilson for this ongoing initiative. “Wilson’s ongoing commitment to tennis in South Africa with a fantastic initiative such as this is commended. A tournament like this affords the greater tennis family not only the opportunity to participate and watch awesome top level tennis, but also the occasion to rekindle friendships and reaffirm the passion we all have for tennis. The Event is a superb example of Tennis South Africa’s Vision Statement of “we all want to see someone playing tennis somewhere every day”.

To enter visit www.tennissa.co.za or from the below link.
https://tsa.sportyhq.com/tournament/view/2016044-WILSON-R100000-CHALLENGE/sign_up

For enquiries please contact Lorna Krog on 011-616-0309, 083-630-1990 or The Golf Racket on 011-807-5362.

Ends


DEATH OF SA TENNIS LEGEND ABE SEGAL A GREAT LOSS

Johannesburg, South Africa - Tennis South Africa were sad to learn about the death of South African tennis legend Abe Segal. Segal was not only one of the greatest tennis players to emerge from South Africa but was also undoubtedly one of the greatest personalities in the sport worldwide.
Segal, 85, had been suffering from cancer and passed away in Cape Town on Monday night.

Abe Segal

Picture credit: Tennis Archives


Together with Gordon Forbes, they formed one the world’s best doubles teams, and the two remained great friends off the court. Forbes wrote two books—A Handful Of Summers and Too Soon To Panic – in which Segal featured prominently. In fact, the title of the second book comes from a quote from Segal during a Davis Cup tie against Germany in Berlin in 1962.
Actor and writer Peter Ustinov wrote the forward to A Handful Of Summers and when Segal produced his book in 2008, called Hey Big Boy, not to be outdone Segal got Sean Connery to pen the forward in his book.
On the international stage Segal twice made the finals of the French Open, in 1958 with Australian Roy Howe where they lost in four sets to Ashley Cooper and Neale Fraser and again in 1963 with Forbes where they lost to Roy Emerson and Manuel Santana.
Forbes and Segal reached the Wimbledon semi-finals that same year and it was a title Forbes felt they could have won had Segal not pulled a stomach muscle prior to the game. “Abe was never injured. That was the only time. Abe never complained and he never made excuses but he could only serve at half pace and his serve was usually his biggest strength.”
There had been quite a few upsets that year and the team that beat them in semis went on to win the title.
“We played together for a long time and won the SA Open four times and every provincial title at least once. We also won the British Hard Court, which was a big tournament in those days, twice,” said Forbes.
In the later part of his life Segal also took up painting and surprised most people with his talent and insight. He was also a close friend of hotel magnate Sol Kerzner and worked as the tennis pro at Sun City until his retirement eight years ago.
“Abe Segal was not only a superb player but also one of the sport’s greatest characters,” said Tennis South Africa President Gavin Crookes. “He mixed in some of the best circles and was never scared to give his opinion, no matter how hard-hitting it may have been.
“He was highly respected around the world and he will be a loss to our sport.”
Abe Segal was survived by two daughters, Nancy and Susie who both live in the USA.

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