LLOYD HARRIS IN PARIS HOPING TO QUALIFY FOR ROLAND GARROS

Johannesburg, South Africa – Rising South African tennis star, Lloyd Harris, will be hoping to join fellow countrymen, Kevin Anderson and Raven Klaasen in the main draw of next week’s French Open in Paris.

South African tennis player, Lloyd Harris begins his French Open duty at Roland Garros this week.

Photo credit: Reg Caldecott


The 21-year-old Capetonian made the qualifying cut for the second Grand Slam of the year and today will play Canadian, Felix Auger-Aliassime in the opening round – in the last match on court 16.

The two have never played each other before.

Harris was expecting a challenge from the Canadian, “I have not played Felix before, but he is a really tough young player and I am looking forward to an exciting match today.”

Harris, ranked 213 this week on the ATP singles rankings, said he was very pleased to be playing in his first Grand Slam, since turning professional in 2015.

“This is what you work for, for your entire career. I am excited to compete against all the best players on the main stage.”

Harris said that he is feeling comfortable on the clay, “My preparation has been good so far on clay and the courts at Roland Garros are playing nicely. Having reached the quarter finals of the Challenger in Samarkand last week has given me confidence. Now it’s time for another big push.”

Harris has some experience of Roland Garros, having played at the venue in 2014, at the Junior French Open.

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INTERNATIONALS CLINCH INAGURAL SOUTH AFRICAN BEACH TENNIS INTERNATIONAL TITLES

Johannesburg, South Africa – The historic ITF (International Tennis Federation) Arnold Classic Beach Tennis Challenge ended in Sandton, Johannesburg on Sunday.

Dario Loconte and Pieter De Vries, both of Netherland, in action during the men’s finals of the ITF Arnold Classic Beach Tennis Challenge being played at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Third seeds, Loconte and De Vries beat Brazilians, Guilherme Porto Carrero Coli and Ilias Sakkas, 6-2 0-6 6-2 in Sunday’s finals.

ITF Arnold Classic Beach Tennis Challenge champions, Ekaterina Lyzhnikova and Liudmila Nikoyan, both of Russia, with their winning cheque. Top seeds, Lyzhnikova and Nikoyan won the women’s doubles title at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg beating second seeds,
Caroline Renard and Vanessa Ridolfo, both of France, 6-3 6-4 in the final.

Photo credit: BLD Communications


Historic in the sense that it was the first ever international world ranking Beach Tennis event to be played in South Africa, and first ever Beach Tennis event to be staged as part of the Arnold Classic Sports Festival.

Tennis South Africa (TSA), who launched Beach Tennis in March this year, partnered with the Arnold Schwarzenegger initiative, the 2018 Arnold Classic Africa to phase the Beach Tennis event. A Beach Tennis court comprising of 90 tons of sand was constructed on Alice Lane in Sandton, alongside the Sandton Convention Centre.

The four day event attracted a top field of local and international players.

The men’s tournament was won by Dutch team Dario Loconte and Pieter De Vries. Loconte and De Vries, seeded three, beat fourth seeded Brazilians, Guilherme Porto Carrero Coli and Ilias Sakkas, 6-2 0-6 6-2 for the title.

The Dutch team upset top seeds, Kirill Lyzhnikova of Russia and Adil Medina of Morocco 6-3 7-6(6) in the semi-finals and fell to the ground with delight after clinching match point. De Vries said that it was a real highlight of his career as the important win would take him and his partner into the top 100 of the world rankings, “It’s the first time a Dutch team have won a tournament of this stature, so we are extremely proud of the title. This week was a good week for us and we both played well and used the wind to our advantage. Beating the top seeds in the semis gave us added confidence for the final and despite a second set lapse we were able to overcome our opponents and take the title.”

The women’s tournament was won by Russian top seeds, Ekaterina Lyzhnikova and Liudmila Nikoyan, who beat second seeds, Caroline Renard and Vanessa Ridolfo 6-3 6-4 in the final.

The Russians broke serve in the opening game of the match but were broken back by the Frenchwomen in the very next game. However, in the fifth game, the Russians found the second break and held-on to win the set 6-3. In the second set, the Russians broke serve early to lead 2-0. The Russians broke serve again in the fourth game to lead 3-1. Trailing 1-4, the Frenchwomen made a remarkable comeback to level the set at 4-4. Still, the comeback was cut short by Lyzhnikova and Nikoyan who held serve and then broke impressively in the tenth game without dropping a point to win the set 6-4 giving them the championship.

Nikoyan, who is ranked 28 in the world and the highest world ranked player at the tournament said she was delighted with the win, “Any title win is a good feeling and I am honoured to have won the first international title on offer in South Africa. It was a tricky final to play as the wind was strong and the French team were very competitive but my partner and I kept our game plan and nerve, and pulled it through.”

“My partner, Ekaterina, came to South Africa for the first time as a tourist last year and when she saw the Arnold Classic Beach Tennis Challenge on the calendar she encouraged me to travel with her to Johannesburg to play in the event. And how pleased I am that we came, it was a fabulous event, the setting was unique and the court was in excellent condition.”

Nikoyan had full praise for TSA in their launch of Beach Tennis in the country, “Four years ago, I retired from playing the pro circuit in regular tennis and took up Beach Tennis and have never looked back. It’s a really fun sport and with South Africa’s great weather conditions I am sure that the sport will grow in leaps and bounds and South Africa will become a force in world Beach Tennis.”

The Russian (Nikoyan), during her stay, held development and coaching clinics in Gauteng and said that she was impressed with the co-ordination of the junior and senior players, and felt that with more practise and tournament play, the talent could be a force to reckon with.

“I will definitely be back. I have loved my stay in South Africa and I hope the tournament next year will be bigger and better, has more courts and a larger international field. I for sure will promote the tournament on the world circuit.” concluded Nikoyan.

During the tournament prize giving, a specially commissioned cake was presented to the winners celebrating 10 years of ITF Beach Tennis.

The South African swing of the Beach Tennis Circuit moves indoors to Pococks Indoor Beach Centre in Randburg, Johannesburg on Tuesday, 22 May for back-to-back ITF events, the TSA Pococks Beach Tennis Challenge, followed by the TSA Beach Tennis Challenge.

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JAGUARS CONTINUE WINNING START TO TITLE DEFENCE

Johannesburg, South Africa - The Gauteng Jaguars stormed through the opening weekend of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League unbeaten and look as dominant as ever, pulling off a 51-43 win over the Southern Stings at Ellis Park Arena on Sunday.

Shannen Bartlett of the Stings challenged by Izette Griesel and Tshina Mdau of the Jaguars during the 2018 Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match between the Jaguars and Stings at Ellis Park Arena, Johannesburg on 13 May 2018
Pictures by: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix


As predicted the much-anticipated showdown between the two sides started out as a closely fought clash. The teams were neck and neck in the first quarter, exchanging the lead on numerous occasions and reaching the first break with just one goal in it – the Stings leading 11-10 at that point.
The team from the Western Cape held onto that one-goal advantage heading into half time 26-25 up. That’s when a new game plan from the Jaguars kicked into gear and it showed on the scoreboard with the defending champions finishing a quarter ahead for the first time at the end of the third, on 37-34.
Four unanswered goals at the start of the fourth meant the Jaguars opened up that small gap significantly before the Stings could respond. It seemed there was no coming back from that, with the Jaguars increasing their advantage to eventually win it by eight goals.
“We changed our plan after halfway through. Our first game plan sucked,” admitted Jaguars coach Jenny van Dyk after the game. “We tried something and it didn’t work and so we had to change it. The girls were quick to adapt and it worked well. It was quite a tough match so I’m pleased with the performance.”
Speaking about the 2017 champions’ confidence levels following a successful weekend, Van Dyk added: “It’s fantastic but that can also lead to becoming complacent and a bit too relaxed so we’ll definitely go back and analyse everything we’ve done and work on the areas that weren’t so great.”
Stings coach Annelie Lucas reckoned: “We couldn’t keep up our intensity. It was a very physical game so the girls just got beaten on the body, and the bodies got tired so they couldn’t keep up with it.”
Meanwhile, the North West Flames claimed their first win of the weekend. Last year’s runners-up bounced back from a loss to the Stings on Saturday, with a 61-39 victory over the Limpopo Baobabs. Having struggled on Saturday, young goal shooter Claudia van der Berg had a much better time of it, slotting in some great goals in the first quarter which meant her side led 17-11 at the break.
Quarters two and three were good ones for the Baobabs, and while they trailed throughout, they never let the Flames run away with it. There was a two-goal difference in the second and four in the third, but it was the final period that let them down. That’s when the Flames asserted their dominance to open up their lead and win with ease.
“That was much better,” said a relieved Flames coach, Elsje Jordaan, afterwards, explaining her key wing attack Kgomotso Itlhabanyeng had recovered enough from flu to make a big difference. “I think the rhythm overall was much better on attack.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play all 12 throughout the weekend which is good for a squad, getting those youngsters out. For some of them it’s the first time playing on a sprung floor so it’s all about exposure and building. I’m more happy than last night, definitely.”
Baobabs coach Jenny-Lee Delport said: “Yesterday I kept a lot of players on court and then made the big change at half time and that didn’t work, so this time I tried to change more often but that didn’t work either, so there’s a lot of work to do on when to make the changes to see which players are ready when.
“Other than that, the play looked good. It was fun to see my players play so well against ex-Protea players like Vanes-Mari du Toit and one of the Protea coaches [Jordaan]. I think the players realised for the first time in a while that they can actually do this. We’ve got the ability, we just need to work on the fitness.”
In the final game of the opening round, the Eastern Cape Aloes slumped to their second loss of the weekend, while the Gauteng Fireballs claimed their second victory. The Fireballs, who finished in third spot last year under coach Jordaan’s guidance, dominated from start to finish to eventually take it 53-28.
“I think the difference for us was playing the ball instead of playing the man and losing focus,” said Fireballs coach Dorette Badenhorst. “The Aloes are a very physical team and you need to make sure that you work from them. They’re a difficult team to play, but I think our shots were good. Talja [Venter] played really well. Her goal average was very high so that was the difference.”
Badenhorst believes there’s still plenty of room for improvement however. “It was a good weekend for us. It’s always important to beat these teams because at the end of the day you want to qualify, but it wasn’t a great performance. Some of the quarters we really played well in both of our games but we struggled with certain combinations and we still need to keep possession. We are turning a lot of balls so I’m happy on defence but there are a few things we still need to change.”
Aloes coach Des Neville said: “We were hoping our players would have settled after yesterday’s game and some of the combinations did come through quite strongly today.
“We tried a few new things and some of those did pay off but it’s just a matter of trying to keep that going for the whole game. We’ve got pockets of brilliance, but too many lulls and too many lows so if we can sort that out, I think we’ll go forward from here.”
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SLICK-LOOKING STINGS OFF TO WINNING START

Johannesburg, South Africa- The Southern Stings produced one of the finest defensive efforts of the opening weekend of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League to defeat last year’s runners up, the North West Flames, 53-37 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg this afternoon.

Claudia Van Den Berg of the Flames (l) challenged by Stephanie Brandt of the Stings during the 2018 Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match between the Stings and Flames at Ellis Park Arena, Johannesburg on 12 May 2018.

Photo Credit : Gavin Barker at Backpage Media


After a series of fairly large winning margins in matches earlier in the day and on the opening night on Friday, it seemed this might be the match that might deliver the tightest contest of the day. That certainly proved to be the case in the opening quarter as the teams swapped the lead and reached the break just one goal apart – 11-10 in the Stings’ favour. It was still fairly even as the teams went to half time four goals apart on 27-23 to the team from the Western Cape.
But that’s as close as it got in the end, with the Flames struggling in the circle and squandering numerous scoring opportunities, while the Stings impressed on both defence and their basic skills. It was a slick team performance all-round and saw the Stings surging ahead to win it by 16 goals at the final whistle.
“We did expect a closer game. We know the type of players they have and we know that Elsje [Jordaan] in a very good coach,” admitted Stings coach Annelie Lucas afterwards.
“At the beginning of the game we were too loose so we played into their hands, but when we tightened up the game, eventually it went out way. Our defence was on par tonight. They were sharp and I know Helene [Steyn] got the player of the match, but I think Stephanie Brandt, our keeper, also really outdid herself. Her timing was on and she just turned the ball for us there. If you have tight defence, then it’s easy.”
Flames coach Jordaan explained that an injury to their number one shooter had caused the team’s scoring woes. “Our attack is a brand new combination and it showed, and obviously if you don’t convert, you can’t win. I’m not happy with the shooting effort at all. But I’m quite happy that now we know what we need to work on. And we’ll be back hopefully.”
In the final match of the day, the Mpumalanga Sunbirds sank to their second defeat in as many days with a 44-25 loss to the Gauteng Fireballs. It was always going to be a tough task for the team that finished second last in 2017, coming up against the third-placed Gauteng side, and they struggled to match the skill from the better-drilled team.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, the Gauteng Jaguars could not have sounded a louder warning to their challengers as they got the defence of their Brutal Fruit Premier Netball League title off to a successful start.
They may have been taking on the team that finished bottom of the pile last year, the Northern Cape Diamonds, but they still looked in sensational form as they powered to an 81-12 win.
The team from the Northern Cape simply battled to match the pace at which the defending champions were operating. They reached the half time break 30 goals behind and it got worse from there as some strong defence from the Jaguars meant the Diamonds could score only twice in the third quarter and once in the final 15 minutes.
“We set some goals for the match so I did expect them to perform even if it was a weaker match,” explained Jaguars coach Jenny van Dyk. “We are very confident of defending the title. We wouldn’t just come here to take a second or third place. We want to win this and that’s what we’re working towards,” she added.
In other action, the Limpopo Baobabs sprung a surprise by surging to a 15-12 lead after their first quarter against three-time champions, the Free State Crinums.
The Crinums came back in the second to level matters at 16-all, but the Baobabs were still very much in it by half-time, heading into the break with the Free Staters 30-27 ahead. It was the third quarter that really lost it for the Limpopo team, however, as they could only manage eight goals to the Crinums’ 22. And despite a tight final quarter, the damage had been done, with the Free State side winning it 68-46.
Earlier in the day, the Kingdom Stars notched up their second win of the opening weekend’s action with a 54-30 victory over the Eastern Cape Aloes.
Having played their opener on Friday night, it was clear from the start that the KZN side already had a game under their belts, with much slicker passing and effective teamwork than their opponents from the Eastern Cape.
“I’ll never put away the Aloes. We did it last year where we were up the first quarter and then the Aloes took the game, so we never allowed them to actually come back at us,” said Kingdom Stars coach Madri Maritz afterwards. “We tried to build every single quarter, stay calm, play our game and just keep on going.”
This year’s Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League was officially opened with a special ceremony on Saturday afternoon attended by South Africa’s Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa, President of Netball South Africa Cecilia Molokwane, MMC Community Development for the City of Jo’burg – Nonhlanhla Sifumba and other netball dignitaries.
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BEACH TENNIS COMES TO THE STREETS OF SANDTON

Johannesburg, South Africa – The South African beach tennis revolution hits Sandton next weekend, as part of the Arnold Classic sport and fitness festival.

The Arnold Classic, hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre from Friday 18 May to Sunday 20 May, is a ground-breaking multi-sport event and the brainchild of its co-founder, former Mr Universe and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Arnold Classic Beach Tennis Challenge, which takes place at the event, is the first ITF-sanctioned (International Tennis Federation) tournament in South Africa. A temporary beach tennis court, consisting of 90 tons of sand, is being erected on one of Sandton’s most iconic streets, Alice Lane.

Rand Show Challenge winners, Ryan Brookshaw and Tucker Vorster - both of Gauteng North, and Bronwyn Davidson and Caitlyn Klaasen, of Gauteng Central, have been confirmed to play in the men’s and women’s events, respectively.

Our local men will be testing themselves against several international players - including top 100 world ranked players, Adil Medina of Mauritius and Goda Satoshi of Japan. Meanwhile, Russia’s ITF Mixed Doubles World Champion, Liudmila Nikoyan, is the highest ranked player (27) in the women’s event.

Tennis South Africa Beach Tennis Manager, Iain Smith, said: “We are very excited to be hosting our first ever international event in South Africa - at the iconic Arnold Classic. The tournament promises to be a spectacle of fun, lights, sound and action, as our best local players take on the world.”

Beach Tennis is an approved International Tennis Federation discipline and South Africa is one of 47 countries around the world where the sport is now being promoted and played. TSA believe that Beach Tennis is the “fun tennis” of the future, as it is a game that can be played by all ages and all playing abilities.

Tickets for the Arnold Classic Africa 2018 can purchased through webtickets on www.webtickets.co.za and/or at Pick n Pay stores.

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VICTORY FOR CRINUMS AND KINGDOM STARS

Johannesburg, South Africa - The Free State Crinums cruised to a 46-25 victory over the Mpumalanga Sunbirds in their Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (BFNPL) match at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena on Friday night.

Sindile Nkuna of the Sunbirds challenged by Maryke Coetzee of the Crinums during the 2018 Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League match between the Crinums and Sunbirds at Ellis Park Arena, Johannesburg on 11 May 2018.

Photo Credit : Gavin Barker at Backpage Media


The Crinums, who finished fifth last year, after winning the first three tournaments, looked comfortable, although the Sunbirds performed better than the score line suggests. Both teams were tentative in the first quarter, but started finding their feet as the match continued. The defenders on both sides achieved a number of turnovers in the circle. At halftime, the Crinums were 36-18 ahead.
“The first game is always a bit of hide-and-seek,” said Crinums coach Burta de Kock.
“The Crinums are a fast team, but they didn’t use their speed to their advantage tonight. I changed the combinations every quarter, and gave all 12 players some game time. That’s very important in the first match of a tournament.
“There are a lot of wrinkles to iron out, but I am happy with the win.”
“We struggled in the first quarter,” said Sunbirds coach Marlie Nel.
“But they played better after that. I think a lot of it was down to nerves. We have some very young players – two of them were still at school last year. But we also have some very experienced players and I think we are going to do much better this year,” she said.
The Sunbirds finished ninth last year
Earlier, the Kingdom Stars got off to an excellent start, beating the Northern Cape Diamonds by 59 goals to 34.
Despite having lost top players like Proteas captain Bongi Msomi and veteran centre court player Precious Mthembu, the Stars looked slick and purposeful. They led by seven goals after the first quarter, and then extended their lead with every successive quarter. At halftime they were 31-15 ahead, and they led 42-22 after the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was the Diamonds’ best as they scored 12 goals – their highest in any quarter.
“It was a disappointing start to the tournament,” said coach Elfreda Luyt.
“They didn’t play the way they practiced, but they had a very early start and a long journey to get here.
“They can definitely play better than they did today, and I was pleased with the combination in the final quarter, when they finally clicked. But the Stars were definitely the better team.”
Kingdom Stars coach Madri Maritz was much happier with her team.
“I am very happy with our start,” she said.
“The combinations in the third quarter didn’t work too well, but generally I thought they played well.
“We are without some of our top players, but we are focusing on developing talent, and our team is an ideal blend of youth and experience. And I am very pleased to see the youngsters giving the senior players a run for their money,” said Maritz.

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SOLID START FOR DEFENDING CHAMPION IN SPAR GRAND PRIX

Johannesburg, South Africa - Defending champion Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) has made a solid start on the defence of her SPAR Grand Prix title with a comfortable victory in the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Kesa Molotsane (KPMG), winner of the SPAR Women’s Challenge in Port Elizabeth on Saturday tops the SPAR Grand Prix leader board. Molostane is the defending SPAR Grand Prix winner.
Photo credit : Reg Cladecott


Molotsane, who also won the Cape Town race, has a total of 40 points and is two points ahead of Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) , who finished second in both races. Rudo Mhonderwa (Nedbank) who was fourth in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth is in third place, with 34 points.
So far, none of the top senior runners has achieved bonus points for beating the 2017 time. Bonus points are often the difference between the top runners. However, there are still four races to be run, in Durban, Pretoria, Pietermaritzburg and Pretoria, so there is plenty of time for someone to stamp their authority on the Grand Prix.
In the category for runners between 60 and 69, Margie Saunders earned five valuable bonus points, and she now leads the category with 10 points, despite not having competed in Cape Town.
Molotsane was the dominant force in the Grand Prix last year, winning the Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pietermaritzburg races, finishing second in Durban and Johannesburg and third in Pretoria to finish with a total of 156 points. She was the first runner to win the competition on debut.
Molotsane entered the SPAR races last year as a means of boosting her training for track events, and she says she may not be able to run all four of the remaining races.
“I am trying to qualify for the 5000m in the African championships, and I also do cross-country. My coach and I are currently trying to juggle my participation in all three disciplines, so it depends on what other events there are,” she said.
“But I would really like to win the Grand Prix again, so I will do my best to get to all the events.”
Three-times Grand Prix winner Irvette Zyl, who was runner-up last year, missed the Port Elizabeth race because she is more than seven months pregnant. She caused a sensation when she finished third in Cape Town in March, despite being pregnant, but decided to give the Port Elizabeth Challenge a miss. She is currently eighth on the leaderboard, with 18 points. Another top runner, Nolene Conrad, who was third in the Grand Prix last year, missed the Cape Town race because she was doing national duty in the world cross country championships and decided to skip the Port Elizabeth race because she was still recovering from participating in the Vienna Marathon the previous week.
Molotsane’s club, KPMG, is currently in the lead in the club competition, with 168 points. Nedbank is in second place, with 137 and Boxer is third, with 105.
The next SPAR 10km Challenge is in Durban on June 24. The Pretoria and Pietermaritzburg races are in August and the final race, in Johannesburg, takes place in October.

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MOLOTSANE NOTCHES UP SECOND SPAR CHALLENGE WIN

Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) coasted to victory in the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Pollok Beach in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, in a time of 33.46 minutes.
Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) was second in 34.01 and Zimbabwean Patience Murowe (Nedbank) finished third in 34.16.

SPAR Women’s challenge top 3 finishes from left, Patience Murowe (Nedbank), Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) and Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) at the SPAR Women’s Challenge Port Elizabth on Saturday 5 May 2018 held in Pollok beach Summerstrand.

Picture by: Reg Caldecott


The 25th edition of the Port Elizabeth was run in ideal conditions, with a light breeze. The lead runners started in a bunch, with Cornelia Joubert and Christine Kalmer leading the pack for the first couple of kilometres. The group thinned out to nine runners until the halfway mark, when Joubert slipped out of the top group. Xaba surged at 6kms, taking six runners with her, but at 7kms it was Molotsane, famed for her “kick”, who surged into the lead. The much smaller Xaba tried hard to stick with her, but Molotsane, with her easy running style, was just too good and Xaba dropped back leaving a smiling Molotsane to cross the finish line alone.
“Yesterday, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to be able to run because of a technical issue, so I wasn’t in the right frame of mind,” said Molotsane.
“I couldn’t run according to my original plan, and it was only at about 5kms that I really felt I was in the race. But I’m a fighter and at 7kms, I felt I had to go for it. I am very happy to have won,” she said.
Xaba, who also finished second at the Cape Town Challenge in March, said she had also thought she might not be able to run because of a tight hamstring.
“But luckily I was able to take part. At one stage, I was leading, but at 8kms I felt I had to slow down. I enjoyed running alongside Kesa – she is a challenging runner.”
Murowe said she had aimed at finishing in the top five.
“I was with the race pack from the start, taking the lead from time to time. It was a very flat course, and I have been training to run on a flat course, so I was very happy. I didn’t struggle on the last 2kms because of my training,” she said.
“The race didn’t go quite as I had expected – the pack started quite slowly and then picked up the pace and at 7kms, I got away from the pack.”
Molotsane, who is the current SPAR Grand Prix title holder, said she wasn’t sure whether she would be able to run all of the remaining four Challenge races.
“I am having to juggle my track running, cross-country and SPAR races,” she said. “I am trying to qualify to run the 5000m at the African Championships, so I may have to miss some of the Grand Prix races. At this stage, I still want to do all three disciplines, although I will eventually have to decide on one.”
Veteran runner Sonja Laxton completed her 95th SPAR race 51.26 and finished the race 89th overall.
Eight-thousand-108 runners took part in the 10km Challenge and the 5km Fun Run.
SPAR Sponsorship and Events Manager for the Eastern Cape, Alan Stapleton, said he was delighted that the race was proving so popular with the women of the Eastern Cape.
“This year, we have decided that instead of donating money to a designated charity, we will put that money into a clean-up and education campaign aimed at eliminating plastic. This is in line with SPAR’s decision to do away with plastic bags wherever possible,” he said.

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RESULTS OF SPAR WOMEN’S 10 KM CHALLENGE
Results of the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge run at Pollok Beach in Port Elizabeth on Saturday

SENIOR
1. Kesa Molotsane (KPMG) 33.46; 2. Glenrose Xaba (Boxer) 34.01; 3. Patience Murowe (Nedbank) 34.16; 4. Rudo Mhonderwa (Nedbank) 34.21; 5. Zintle Xiniwe (KPMG) 34.23; 6. Christine Kalmer (KPMG) 34.24; 7. Lebogang Phalula (Boxer) 34.38; 8.Cornelia Joubert (Boxer) 34.49; 9. Ntombesintu Mfunzi 34.54; 10. Cherise Sims (Boxer) 34.59
Junior
1. Nicole Louw (KPMG) 36.02; 2. Lyndi Roelofse (Boxer) 37.03; 3. Tara Schwulst (Born2Run) 38.58
40 to 49
1. Bulelwa Simae 37.29; 2. Janene Carey 39.41; 3. Ronel Thomas 39.58
50 to 59
1. Judy Bird 39.42 2. Christine Claasen 42.57; 3. Marietta Hattingh 43.41
60 to 69
1. Margie Saunders 42.38 2. Blanche Moila 47.35; 3. Renee Hawkridge 50.25
70 +
1. Liz Jenkinson 54.46; 2. Ronelle Steyn 1.00.53 3. Vicky Ashley 1.05.44


TOP CLASS TENNIS TALENT ON DISPLAY AT HIGH SCHOOL INTER PROVINCIAL

Pretoria, South Africa – The talent on display at the recently completed Tennis South Africa High Schools Inter provincial tournament was “very encouraging” according to Fed Cup Captain, Rene Plant.

The Kwa-Zulu Natal Under 15 team who were winners in the Under 15 section of the Tennis South Africa High Schools Inter Provincial tournament played at the Groenkloof Tennis Stadium in Pretoria from 27-30 April 2018.

Kwa-Zulu Natal beat Western Province 27-9 in the Under 15 final.

Pictured from left;

(Back) James Edley (Currow Hillcrest); Karan Varyani (Clifton College); Mary-Lynn Cotton (Howick HS); Storm Veenstra (St Annes); Kylie Misdorp (Durban Girls College);
(Middle) Kallen Ramiah (Westville BHS); Amahle Fihela (Tisand Technical High); Calum Jestin (Clifton College); Alex Edley (Currow Hillcrest); Thomas Rey (Clifton College)
(Front) Nonhlanhla Ngcobo (Durban Girls Secondary); Jamie Jones (St Henry’s)

The Western Province Under 15 team who were runners-up in the Under 15 section of the Tennis South Africa High Schools Inter Provincial tournament played at the Groenkloof Tennis Stadium in Pretoria from 27-30 April 2018.

Kwa-Zulu Natal beat Western Province 27-9 in the Under 15 final.

Pictured from left;

(Back) Nerine van der Walt (Van Riebeeck HS); Karli Roux (Durbanville HS); Lianke Potgieter (Stellenberg HS); Grant Joubert (Rondebosch BHS); Yazeed Abbas (Rondebosch BHS); Benjamin MacFarlaine (Bishops College); Jaryd Visser (Parklands College)

(Front) Tiaan Schreuder (Durbanville HS); Jade Benting (Herschelle); Natasha Paul (Herschelle); Erin Laubscher (Fairmont HS); Kyler Hugo (Curro Durbanville)

The Gauteng Central Under 19 team who won the Under 19 section of the Tennis South Africa High Schools Inter Provincial tournament played at the Groenkloof Tennis Stadium in Pretoria from 27-30 April 2018.

Gauteng Central beat Gauteng North 25-12 in the Under 19 final.

Pictured from left;

Alec Beckley (Linden HS); Kevin Dlamini (KES); Amukelani Mokone (St Mary’s Waverley); Neo Mafuyeka (St Mary’s Waverley); Michael Lowings (St David Marist); Bradley Milton (St Johns College); Chao-Hong Peng (Hyde Park HS); Sebastian Buxman (St Davids Marist); Nina Patience (St Mary’s Waverley); Jared Robinson (Coach – St Stithians College); Tamsin Heart (St Mary’s Waverely); Ntokozo Zungu (Mondeor HS); Hayley Tseun (Roedean School for Girls)

The Gauteng North Under 19 team who were runners-up in the Under 19 section of the Tennis South Africa High Schools Inter Provincial tournament played at the Groenkloof Tennis Stadium in Pretoria from 27-30 April 2018.

Gauteng Central beat Gauteng North 25-12 in the Under 19 final.

Pictured from left;

(Back) Lethabo Malope; Chrisjan van Wyk (Waterkloof HS); Kganya Ramamene (Pretoria Boys HS); Gerhard Swart (Menlo Park HS); Hendrik Coertzen (Coach – Menlo Park HS); Victor Putter

(Middle) Amonette Theron (Waterkloof HS); Jo-Ane Verhoef (Waterkloof HS); Ine Lamprecht (Menlo Park HS); Carla Gouws (Waterkloof HS)

(Front) Tsobotsi Lehloenya (St. Marys DSG); Olivia Isaacs (Hatfield Christian School)

Photo credit: BLD Communications


South Africa’s premier boys and girls high school tournament ended on Monday, at the Groenkloof Tennis Stadium in Pretoria. The tournament, played from the 27-30 April, was divided into two age groups - under 15 and under 19.

In the under 19 tournament, Gauteng Central were victorious beating Gauteng North 25-12. Meanwhile, the under 15 tournament was won by Kwa-Zulu Natal who beat Western Province 27-9 in their final.

South African Fed Cup Captain, Plant, visited the tournament and was impressed: “I think this tournament plays a vital part of the development of tennis in the country. Tennis is such an individual sport and when the juniors get a chance to play in a team competition it makes the game so much more fun. The vibe at the courts was wonderful and the talent on display was encouraging for the future of South African tennis”.

Plant, who was a team manager for many years for the Gauteng Central side and is presently Head of Tennis at St. Mary’s School Waverley, addressed the teams and reminded them of the importance of school tennis and enjoying what the game had to offer. She also encouraged the players “to be the best tennis players they can be” and to promote the game amongst their friends.

Following the conclusion of the event, a South African schools team was selected in three age groups, under 15, under 17 and under 19.

The teams announced are as follows;

Under 19

Boys: Gerhard Bekker (Gauteng North); Sebastian Buxman (Gauteng Central); Liam Day (Gauteng East); Chao-Hong Peng (Gauteng Central); Marno Stander (Western Province); Gerhard Swart (Gauteng North); Sachin Thirboan (KZN).
Girls: Kaylin Bouwer (Eastern Cape ); Ester De Kock (North West Province); Amukelani Mokone (Gauteng Central); Dana Phillips (Eastern Cape); Isabella Sereo (Gauteng East); Kiara Wakeford (Northern Cape).

Under 17

Boys: Alec Beckley (Gauteng Central); Kyler Hugo (Western Province); Kade Mindry (KZN); Jahar Persad (KZN); Leander Petersen (Eden); Joseph Townes (Eastern Cape); Daniel Wessels (Eden).
Girls: Maretha Burger (Western Cape Cavaliers); Courtney Fyvie (KZN); Carmen Fichardt (Free State); Tamsin Hart (Gauteng Central); Neo Mafuyeka (Gauteng Central); Linge Steenkamp (Free State); Sarah Millard (Gauteng Central); Ntokozo Zungu (Gauteng Central).

Under 15

Boys: Alex Edley (KZN); James Edley (KZN); Jordan Gancho (Gauteng North); Hanza Kana (Northern Cape); Damian Muller (Eden); Arno Nel (Western Cape Cavaliers); Lwazi Ngwenya (Gauteng Central); SP Viljoen (Northern Cape).
Girls: Jade Benting (Western Province); Kristen Fichardt (Free State); Jamie Jones (KZN); Naledi Manyube (Eden); Lente Taljaard (Eastern Cape Elephants); Leigh van Zyl (Western Cape Cavaliers); Marjuzel Venter (Northern Cape); Nerine van der Walt (Western Province).

Reserves for all groups:

Boys: Jason Schimper (Free State); William Zulch (Western Cape Cavaliers); Victor Putter (Gauteng North); Charl van Heerden (Free State).
Girls: Bernice Bezuidenhout (Eden); Anja de Beer (Eastern Cape Elephants); Christel de Kock (North West Province); Divina Pillay (Eastern Cape); Jo-Ane Verhoef (Gauteng North).


MOLOTSANE IN POLE POSITION BUT WATCH OUT FOR CONRAD

Johannesburg, South Africa - The SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge series moves to Port Elizabeth this weekend, with the Friendly City race being run from Pollok Beach in Summerstrand at seven o’clock on Saturday morning.
Last year’s SPAR Grand Prix winner, Kesa Molotsane, who dominated the Challenge Series last year, got her 2018 campaign off to an excellent start, with a convincing victory in the opening race in Cape Town in March. She has also been in good form on the track, winning the 5000m and 10 000m titles at the South African Students Athletics Championships in Sasolburg last month.
But Molotsane would do well to keep a watchful eye on KPMG teammate Nolene Conrad, who appears to be in the form of her life.
Conrad recently became the latest South African to achieve IAAF Gold Label status after finishing 25th in the World Half Marathon championships in Valencia, Spain. This opens the way to more international competition for Conrad, who was South Africa’s top ranked woman marathon runner last year.
She recently finished eighth at the Vienna Marathon, in a time of 2 hours 38.17 and she also won the Two Oceans Half Marathon in March.
In the past few years, Conrad has been a familiar figure on the podium at SPAR Challenge races, and was third on the Grand Prix ladder last year. She missed the opening race in Cape Town this year because of her world half marathon commitment, but with five races to go, the battle for the title is still wide open.
Three-times Grand Prix winner, Irvette van Zyl, who finished third in Cape Town, despite being six months pregnant, is still undecided about whether she will run on Saturday.
“I’m running the Wally Hayward 10km on Tuesday, and I’ll see how I go,” said Van Zyl.
“If I finish in about 35 minutes, I might run on Saturday, but there’s no point in going all that way and not finishing in the top 10. Also, I am a bit nervous of flying – I would hate to go into labour on the plane.”
Other runners to look out for are Glenrose Xaba, who was second in Cape Town, Christine Kalmer, who is back in form after a quiet 2017 because of illness, and the Phalula twins, Diana-Lebo and Lebogang, who are both former Grand Prix winners.

Ends

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