The Western Cape will be a hive of varsity sports activity next week with athletics, beach volleyball and rugby sevens being fought out around the region.
Wednesday featured the launch of the beach volleyball and rugby sevens codes after a break during the last year.
Track and field athletics kicks off the sporting spectacle with Coetzenburg hosting the event next Monday. Then it’s on to UWC which hosts the beach volleyball on 22-23 April and finally the rugby sevens visit Villager FC in the southern suburbs on 24-27 April.
‘Having the athletics just two days after national championships means that it will the perfect opportunity for them to perform,’ said Varsity Sports CEO, Duitser Bosman at Wednesday’s launch at Grainger Bay venue, The Grand.
There’ll even be an Olympic flavour to the various events with London Olympics 800m silver medallist Caster Semenya turning out on Monday. And with rugby sevens being included as a code at the Rio Olympics for the first time ever, this sport gets huge focus on it.
And of course South Africa had beach volleyball representation at the London Olympics with Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt wearing the green and gold. In fact UWC beach volleyball player Kayla Provins is coached by Goldschmidt.
‘Caster will run the 3000m and we’ll also have local sprinter Justine Palframan running on her home turf and sprint sensation Akani Simbini.’
Bosman went on to relate an interesting aside about how important athletes have found the Varsity series. ‘I complimented Olympian LJ van Zyl on his humble approach and he later came back to thank us, saying that when the athletes competed at Varsity Cup athletics it felt like they were competing in Europe.’
The sevens rugby side has now come to Villager FC in Claremont after having gone to Margate, Plettenberg Bay and Camps Bay previously. ‘But the bad weather at those venues at that particular time really killed it as a spectacle. We then wanted to move to Hamiltons in Green Point but that would have clashed with the World Triathlon Series taking part in Green Point and with all the road closures in the area it would have been chaotic.
‘Coming after the completion of the Varsity Cup rugby competition it means the best players from the 15-a-side code will now also be available. With Sevens now an Olympic sport so many youngsters want to go to Rio so this is a perfect platform. Just as golf being part of the Olympics has changed the dynamics. I know Ernie Els is very excited about the chances of going to the Olympics.’
On the beach volleyball scene, Bosman sad: ‘UWC have won both the beach volleyball competitions and this is a university that truly embraces the sport of beach volleyball.’
Source : South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee