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USSA titles for Maties rugby and cycling : 2017-07-17

On Wednesday the Maties cycling team won the USSA title for a third consecutive year after total domination on the road.

This follows the success of the Steinhoff Maties rugby team that finally won the USSA title with its fourth final. The tournament took place in Johannesburg.

In Port Elizabeth the Maties men and women’s team won the road competition. Gert Heyns and Frances du Toit were the individual winners. Riders from Maties won every stage. Max Sullivan won the green jersey as best sprinter en Heyns the polka-dot jersey for best climber.

The Maties rugby team beat Pukke 19-13 in the final played at the Wits stadium. Braam Venter and his team started the week with a victory over CUT (84-7) and easily dispatched Shimlas (50-7) in the semi-final.

It was a thriller of a final against the team from Potchefstroom that eliminated the home university Wits in the semi-finals.

“I am very pleased and relieved that we could win the final. We have come close to winning other for the last few years. To win the title means a lot to us. We can now build on this for the rest of the WP league and what we’ve learned here we can even use in next year’s Varsity Cup tournament,” said Venter.

Maties is now the USSA champions for both 15man and Sevens rugby. Venter was also the captain of the sevens team that won the last USSA tournament for sevens. The USSA Sevens Rugby Tournament is in September this year.

The rugby team is the only team to win a title last week. The Maties cycling team is currently in Port Elizabeth where the team is the two-time defending champion.

The Maties gymnastics team won the team competition and ended second overall to Pukke. The badminton and tennis teams were both third.

Other USSA results: Gymnastics – 2nd – won the team event; Badminton – 3rd; Tennis – 3rd /B team 2nd B Division; Netball – 5th; Hockey – 5th; Soccer – 5th B Division; Squash – 5th; Golf – 6th / B team won B Division; Basketball – Women 8th / Men 14th

Craig, Kobus Maties’ silver lining : 2017-05-04

Craig Barry (Maties No15) with the final try of the game – 2017 Varsity Cup, presented by Steinhoff, FNB and STEERS. Monday 20 February 2017
FNB MATIES vs FNB NNMU-Madibaz at the Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, Western Cape
Photo by: Liam Hamer Nel

Every dark cloud has a silver lining and for the Maties rugby team it is the individual awards for Kobus van Dyk and Craig Barry.

Maties lost the final of the Varsity Cup in Pretoria against Tuks (21-28). Van Dyk was not only named the Player of the Tournament, but also voted the best forward in the series. Barry was rewarded as the best backline player.

The duo, along with Duncan Saal was also included in the Dream Team that will play against the Junior Springboks in the Danie Craven Stadium on Tuesday. There are also three Maties on the bench. They are Ernst Stapelberg, Michal Haznar and Johan Momsen.

The disappointment was big for Barry and his men. Barry, however, made it clear that the defeat cannot undo the good things that have happened over the past few months.

“The tournament was actually a huge success for us. Several players had the opportunity to prove themselves and were very successful. For us that was not the end which we have worked or planned for, but there are many positive aspects that we can take from the tournament. The Maties jersey is certainly in a better place. We as a team are not defined by the defeat, but by the collective effort we all put in run-up and during the course of the tournament,” Barry said.

For Barry it was his last Varsity Cup. With 42 games he is the player who made the most appearances ever in the series and with his 16 tries – nine in the last series – he is also the Varsity Cup’s leading try-scorer.

National event huge success for Maties : 2017-05-04

With several national records and the very important qualifying times for the World Championships Maties Para Sport athletes returned form the recent South African national championships.

The national event took place in Port Elizabeth.

More than 10 athletes won gold medals and got qualifying times. For two of the athletes – legends Arnu Fourie and Ilse Hayes – it was their last national event.

Both won their numbers and qualified for the world championships in London from July 14 to 23. It will take place in the same stadium as the 2012 Paralympics.

Fourie won the 100m and 200m (T44) in 11:37 and 23:30 seconds respectively.

Hayes (T13) also won has her sprint numbers, but more important than the victories, was progress after an Achilles injury. “It was a race against time to get Ilse ready for the event. The 100m was her first full 100m from the blocks and as well as the 200m. We did not really know what to expect. Our biggest hope was that her Achilles survived the maximum impact. In the 100m and 200m, she impressed with her good technique. Although her times were far from her personal best, she showed we can now proceed to the next phase, “said coach Suzanne Ferreria said. Hayes’ times in the 100 and 200 were 12:40 and 26.45 respectively.

Dyan Buis (T38) and Anruné Liebenberg (T44) both won three gold medals in the sprints. “Dyan ran three good technical races. His times were also good. In the 400m, he literally had the wind from the front and it was a hard race. In all three races he was in the lead from start to finish,” said Ferreira.

About Liebenberg she added: “She ran good technical races, but she has run faster this season in 200m and 400m. It was also a privilege and very special for her to run the 100m and 200m with Ilse at Ilse’s last SA meeting. ”

The field athletes coach Karen le Roux was also very happy with her athletes’ performances. Veteran Zanele Situ (F54) qualified for the World Championships in three events. “Reinhardt Hamman (F38) came very close to his personal in the javelin just a few months after a major knee operation,” said Le Roux.

Another athlete who made his return is Jean Joubert (F44). He did not participate for two years. He broke the national record in shot put. “Kerwin Noemdo (F46) is also in very good shape and threw a personal best in the shot put and so improve his own national record.”

Intensity impresses coach Wylie : 2017-02-14

20170201 VARSITY CRICKET in Potchefstroom on Senwes Park where maties plays UJ.Grant Roelofsen looses his wicket.Grant is from Mario van de Wall/SASPA

The character shown by his players at times when their backs were against the wall – that was what most impressed Steinhoff Maties Cricket coach Andrew Wylie at the recent Varsity Cricket tournament held in Potchefstroom.

The Maties were top of the log after the round-robin stage, but lost in the semi-final against the University of Pretoria. Home-team Pukke won the title and Maties ended third in the competition.

“The standard of play was very good. All the teams were very competitive and there were no games where one team trounced the other. The tournament has definitely grown in stature,” said Wylie.

“A number of things stood out for me. Firstly, the way in which each player played his individual role to the benefit of the team. The character they showed in the moments when we had our backs against the wall, is not something you can teach players. I can’t take credit for that. It says something about the team. Their body language in both the hard and the good times was impressive too.”

A number of players competed in their first Varsity Cricket tournament. One of them was the captain, Gerhard Erasmus.

“The youngsters learned and grew a lot. Our captain also grew in stature and in his role. His confidence increased with each match and the players clearly accepted his leadership,” added Wylie.

“I also have to mention the intensity with which the players trained and played – in the build-up to the competition and at the tournament. It was amazing to see.”

  • Maties bowler Mihlali May (photo) was included in the USSA team that will compete in the Futures Cup later this year. Fenito Mehl was selected as non-travelling reserve.

20170203 VARSITY CRICKET in Potchefstroom on SenWes Park,where Pukke plays MatiesGerhard Erasmus was Player of the Match and Best Batsmanphoto Mario van de Wall/SASPA


Spelers se intensiteit beïndruk Wylie

Die karakter wat sy spelers gewys het in die tye wanneer hulle met die rug teen die muur was, het die Steinhoff Maties krieket-afrigter, Andrew Wylie by die pas afgelope Varsity Krieket-toernooi beïndruk.

Die Maties het bo-aan die punteleer geëindig in die toernooi wat in Potchefstroom gespeel is, maar in die halfeindronde teen Tukkies verloor. Die tuisspan Pukke het die titel gewen.

“Die standaard van spel in die toernooi was baie goed. Elke span wat deelgeneem het, was kompeterend. Daar was geen wedstryd waar die een span die ander oorrompel het nie. Die toernooi het beslis in statuur gegroei,” het Wylie gesê.

“Daar is ‘n hele paar dinge wat vir my uitgestaan het in die toernooi. Eerstens hoe elke speler sy individuele rol vertolk het tot voordeel van die span. Die karakter wat hulle gewys het in die oomblikke waar ons die rug teen die muur gehad het, is nie iets wat mens geleer word nie. Ek kan nie krediet daarvoor vat nie. Dit sê iets oor dié span. Ook die liggaamstaal in moeilike tye en in die goeie tye was indrukwekkend.”

Verskeie spelers het hul heel eerste Varsity Krieket-toernooi gespeel. Een van hulle was die kaptein Gerhard Erasmus. “Die jongelinge het baie geleer en gegroei in die proses. Ons kaptein het ook in statuur en in sy rol gegroei. Hy het elke wedstryd met meer selfvertroue gespeel en die spelers het duidelik ingekoop met sy leierskap en hoe hy lei.”

Wylie het bygevoeg: “Ek kan nie nalaat om te praat oor die intensiteit waarmee die spelers geoefen en gespeel het nie. In aanloop tot die toernooi en by die toernooi. Dit was ongelooflik om te sien.”

  • Die Maties-bouler Mihlali May is in die USSA-span ingesluit wat later vanjaar aan die Futures Cup-toernooi gaan deelneem. Fenito Mehl is ‘n reserwe vir die span.

Maties’ Simmonds joins CSA Academy : 2017-02-14


Steinhoff Maties Cricket player Kyle Simmonds has been invited to join the Cricket South Africa National Academy.

The programme starts on 22 May and will run until the end of July. Thereafter the SA Emerging Men’s squad will be named for the tour of Sri Lanka in August.

According to the second year Matie it was a goal to one day join the National Academy. “After my two years at the Dolphins Academy (2013-2014) I did have plans to hopefully attend the National Academy but I did not expect an invitation at the beginning of the 2016/2017 cricket season, but I was fortunate to have a good start to the season and am very grateful for being selected. A few of my teammates at Boland have been through the Academy so it’s been good to hear what is to be expected and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

For Simmonds a big motivation is the fact that many players who joined the National Academy in previous years have moved on to Franchise cricket. “This is something that will to drive me to grow as a cricketer while in Pretoria. As far as my career I do not want to look too far ahead but just focus on any opportunity that comes to me starting with the second half of the Amateur season with Boland, then the National Academy and after that I’ll just take it one game at a time.”

The National Academy programme is aimed at looking at the holistic development of a player, so it looks at all aspects and not just cricket related skill and tactical awareness, but also at what other support a player needs in order to get to a level where he or she can perform at professional and international standards. This includes the performance lifestyle of a player, what is his social background, what is his economic background and how does that affect a player’s ability to perform at the top level.

Simmonds will use his time at the Academy wisely. “Something that I have learnt very quickly is that as a cricketer you can’t just rely on one aspect of cricket like bowling for example, so at the Academy my main focus will be bowling but I am going to work hard on the three other important aspects being batting, fielding and fitness. I think if you’re competing with the top players in all four categories you make it very hard for selectors to leave you out of any team and that will be something that I’m hoping to work very hard on at the National Academy.”


Maties se Simmonds vir KSA se Nasionale Akademie gekies

Steinhoff Maties-krieketspeler Kyle Simmonds is na Krieket Suid-Afrika se Nasionale Akademie uitgenooi.

Die Nasionale Akademie-program begin op 22 Mei en is tot die einde van Julie. Daarna sal die SA Opkomende groep vir die toer na Sri Lanka in Augustus gekies word.

Volgens die tweede jaar Matie was dit ‘n doel om eendag by die Akademie aan te sluit. “Na my twee jaar by die Dolphins Akademie (2013-2014) het ek wel planne gehad om hopelik eendag die Nasionale Akademie by te woon, maar ek het nie ‘n uitnodiging aan die begin van die 2016/2017-krieketseisoen verwag nie. Ek was egter gelukkig om ‘n goeie begin tot die seisoen te maak en is baie dankbaar vir die feit dat ek gekies is. ‘n Paar van my spanmaats by die Boland was by die Akademie en dit is goed om te hoor wat ek kan verwag. Ek sien uit na die uitdaging wat voorlê.”

Vir Simmonds is ‘n groot motivering die feit dat baie spelers wat in die vorige jare by die Nasionale Akademie was intussen Franchise-krieket begin speel het. “Dit is iets wat my sal dryf om te groei as ‘n krieketspeler terwyl ek in Pretoria is. Wat my loopbaan betref, wil ek wil nie te ver vooruit kyk nie. Ek fokus nou net op die geleentheid wat ek gekry het.”

Die Nasionale Akademie-program is daarop gemik om te kyk na die holistiese ontwikkeling van ‘n speler. Daar word gekyk na alle aspekte van die speler en nie net na krieket verwante vaardigheid en taktiese bewustheid nie. Daar word ook gekyk na watter ander ondersteuning ‘n speler nodig het om hom op ‘n vlak te kry waar hy kan presteer volgens professionele en internasionale standaarde. Dit sluit in die lewenstyl van ‘n speler, wat is sy sosiale agtergrond, wat is sy ekonomiese agtergrond en hoe dit sy vermoë om op die hoogste vlak te kompeteer, beïnvloed.

Simmonds sal sy tyd by die Akademie oordeelkundig benut. “Iets wat ek baie vinnig as ‘n krieketspeler geleer het, is dat jy nie net op een aspek van krieket kan staatmaak nie. By die Akademie is my hooffokus boulwerk, maar ek gaan hardwerk aan al drie ander aspekte naamlik kolfwerk, veldwerk en fiksheid. Ek dink as jy kan meeding met die top-spelers in al vier kategorieë maak jy dit baie moeilik vir die keurders om jou weg te laat uit die span.”


Luke continues the Schooling-legacy : 2016-10-31


Being a Matie is somewhat of a family tradition and one that Luke Schooling was more than happy to continue!

First year Matie Luke followed the example of dad Doug, mom Norma and sisters Meg and Kimmi to study at the Stellenbosch University. “I have always wanted to be a Matie. My mom played hockey for Maties and I always wanted to follow in her footsteps. And after watching Maties play in the Western Province Grand Challenge the past few seasons I just knew I had to wear that maroon shirt!”

Schooling is an LLB-student and resident of Simonsberg. “The year has been going really well and I definitely made the right call in what I study and being at Maties.”

The former SACS-pupil not only excelled in hockey, but also water polo. “It is like hockey a family passion with my dad and sisters also having played water polo. But I don’t have any regrets choosing hockey over water polo.”

Fans of Maties Hockey are just as happy that Schooling choose hockey. In the final match of the WPGC this year Schooling scored the winning goal. It was one of a handful of goals the youngster scored in a season, which you could see him grow with confidence and get better every game.

2016 FNB Varsity MEN'S Hockey, Round 4,  Monday 09 May 2016, UJ Hockey Field, Gertjie Lamprecht of NWU PUKKE in action with Luke Schooling of US MATIES during their varsity cup men clash on monday evening in Johannesburg Gauteng. Photo by: SASPA

2016 FNB Varsity MEN’S Hockey, Round 4, Monday 09 May 2016, UJ Hockey Field, Gertjie Lamprecht of NWU PUKKE in action with Luke Schooling of US MATIES during their varsity cup men clash on monday evening in Johannesburg Gauteng.
Photo by: SASPA

According to Schooling finding balance between hockey and studies is something of a trial and error process, but he did get a lot of help from those around him. “I get to feed of the players around me in the team and in my res there are various HP sportsman and seeing what they do helps. Having played hockey and water polo at school while focusing on studies as well prepared me a bit.”

Hockey is part of the Maties Sport High Performance Programme. “It was something I have never experienced before. At the beginning of the year I could see the senior guys adapting faster to the intensity. The HP programme helped my game immensely, especially the physical training sessions. The intensity of all our sessions is vital for the success of our hockey. Having someone like Revs (Paul Revington) around is very beneficial and it was phenomenal to experience.”

Schooling added: “The past 10 months have been incredible. Not a single regret. You can’t beat Stellenbosch…so glad to be here.”

2016 FNB Varsity MEN'S Hockey, Round 3,  Sunday 08 May 2016, UJ Hockey Field, Johannesburg Gauteng. MATIES v NMMU Dylan Swanepoel (c) of MATIES  Photo by: CATHERINE KOTZE/ SASPA

2016 FNB Varsity MEN’S Hockey, Round 3, Sunday 08 May 2016, UJ Hockey Field, Johannesburg Gauteng.
Dylan Swanepoel (c) of MATIES

Nuwe Maties-krieketkaptein Erasmus slaggereed vir uitdaging : 2016-10-31

Dié voor hom het diepspore by Steinhoff Maties Krieket getrap, maar die nuwe kaptein wil egter meer as net in hul voetspore volg; Gerhard Erasmus is vasbeslote om sy eie stempel af te druk.

Erasmus is pas aangewys as Maties-krieketkaptein vir die nuwe seisoen. Dewald Botha en Emile Kriek was die afgelope paar seisoene die leiers in die span. “Emile en Dewald was nie net goeie leiers nie. Hulle was ook briljante spelers en goeie mense. Hulle was die toonbeeld van goeie studente wees. Hulle het hard gewerk, hard geoefen en hard geswot!” het Erasmus gesê.

Volgens Erasmus is dit egter nou belangrik dat die sogenaamde nuwe generasie Maties hul eie kultuur vind en vestig. “Ons wil natuurlik voortbou op die tradisies wat reeds deur die jare gevestig is, maar ons is nogal ‘n jong groep spelers en dit gaan belangrik wees om ons eie kultuur te vestig en ons stempel op ‘n unieke manier af te druk. Dit is ons eerste uitdaging.”

Erasmus is ‘n tweede jaar LLB-student en speel sedert sy eerste jaar vir Maties. “Om ‘n speler-student by Maties te wees is wonderlik. Wat Maties vir Maties bied verseker dat mens hier wil wees.”

Oor kaptein wees, is Erasmus passievol. “Dit is vir my ‘n groot eer en voorreg om Maties se kaptein te wees. Leierskap kom natuurlik vir my. Kapteinskap is ‘n aangename verantwoordelikheid. Ek speel beter as ek kaptein van ‘n span is…dit is waar ek hoort.”

Krieket is deel van Maties Sport se Hoë Prestasie-program en volgens Erasmus maak dit ‘n enorme verskil. “Dit is noodsaaklik om ‘n HP-program te hê. Maties se HP-program is alles omvattend en veral Grant van Velden se rol as kondisioneringsafrigter, is van onskatbare waarde.”

Die nuwe Boland-klubkrieketliga het reeds begin.

Maties High Performance uses VX Sport GPS to help HP teams : 2016-05-27

graphic 1-2

Managing a student-athlete’s physical workload at university level is very important for the Maties Sport High Performance (HP) Unit. The VX Sport GPS athlete tracking system is one of the many tools that is used at the Maties Sport HP Unit to make sure teams and athletes train smarter and more efficiently.

“For years we could never measure how our teams or athletes physically performed on the field of play. At best we could take an educated guess as to how tough or physically demanding a match or a training session was, without having actual numbers and stats to back up or disprove what we saw. The VX Sport GPS system now allows us to measure how we play or train. Now that we have access to the numbers and stats on how we play, it has allowed us to critically look at how efficiently and how effectively we train our teams or student-athletes,” said Grant van Velden from the HP unit.

“We have collected data from a number of our teams and student-athletes over the years and this has given us an idea of how physical demanding matches are on student-athletes across different sport codes, as well as across different positions within the same sports code. We ultimately want our teams to train more often like they play out on the field, so we use the data and stats collected from matches to help our teams achieve this. We try to match the intensity of games during training so that we train smarter and more efficiently with the limited time that we have with our student-athletes.”

Van Velden explained that during the Varsity Cup competition, the team played different conditioning games or “pockets” during training sessions. These “pockets” were either below, above, or at the same intensity that the players would experience during a match. “By knowing how intense a Varsity Cup game is against a particular opponent, we can position ‘pockets’ accordingly in the teams training week so that we adequately prepare them for the intensity of the upcoming game or to recover from the previous week’s game.”

According to Van Velden, having access to this type of athlete tracking technology is very relevant in the university environment. “Student-athletes are first and foremost students and athletes second. Due to this, their academic commitments are a priority during the day. This leaves us with maybe two hours training time in the late afternoon/early evening, two to three times per week if we are lucky. With this limited contact time, we have to train smart and efficiently otherwise we will not be able to maximise the training session to its full potential. By using the stats and numbers we get from the GPS units, we know exactly what we should do in a particular training session and can therefore design our training session accordingly in order to achieve that sessions objectives.”

graphic 2-2

The HP Unit currently has 30 VX Sport GPS units, 15 of these are “live” units. “Live means that during a match we can instantly see on the laptop on the side of the field what is happening with a player on the field of play. Immediate changes can then be made if a player is showing signs of fatigue or is not reaching certain physical benchmarks that he or she would normally reach during a game. In an ideal world, training sessions will also be monitored with live units. This will then allow for communication between the coach, the sport technologist, and the conditioning coach to make changes to a training session right then and there if certain physical benchmarks are not being achieved.”

Van Velden added: “When a player has the GPS unit on, there is no place to hide on the field. Athletes who try to take shortcuts during training sessions will be caught out. Big Brother is watching you and in this case Big Brother is in space in the form of a satellite! We not only see if a player is doing too little, but also if he or she is doing too much.”

Van Velden warns though that using only the data and stats from GPS to interpret how an athlete performed on the field will only give you half the story. “GPS data must be interpreted alongside video data. The GPS data can show that a player ran for 9km on the astro, which is a lot, but then the video will show that he achieved that distance without influencing play very much… he or she ran around like a headless chicken. Whereas another player may only cover 7km on the astro, but his or her influence on the game was far more pronounced. So running further during a match doesn’t necessarily mean you were the better player or more influential in the game. The stats need to be interpreted alongside video data and that is why video analysis is so very important as well.”

The Steinhoff Maties men’s team at the recent Varsity Hockey tournament used the GPS units for the matches played in Stellenbosch. According to Van Velden these stats, along with previous year’s stats, will come in handy when preparing for the USSA tournament in July. “It is a very similar tournament with games every day for a week. We also have a number of 1st years in our team who we haven’t been able to collect data on before. It is important that we understand the physical demands placed on the newcomers to the team and how their bodies react to and recover from four days of high intensity hockey. We now know what the physical demands will be on each player even before the USSA tournament has started. This will allow us to physically prepare the players better and give them the best possible chance to play to the best of their abilities.”

graphic 3

Bergfietsry nou ook deel van HP-program : 2016-05-11


Bergfietsry is nou ook deel van die Maties Sport Hoë Prestasie-program by die Universiteit Stellenbosch en vanjaar ook reeds deel van die opwindende Varsity Sport-reeks.

Die Varsity-bergfietsuitdaging strek oor twee meerdaagse byeenkomste. Die eerste byeenkoms is op 9 en 10 Julie in die Sondela-natuurreservaat in Bela Bela. Die tweede byeenkoms is op die La Paris-landgoed in Franschhoek tussen 1 en 2 Oktober. Die byeenkomste gaan ‘n ekstra unieke universiteitsgeur hê met die algemene publiek wat ook kan deelneem en die universiteit van hul keuse kan verteenwoordig.

Die pas afgelope naweek het Maties Fietsry die intervarsity teen Ikeys op oortuigende wyse gewen en die fietsryers het gewys hulle gereed is om kompeterend te wees in die Varsity-bergfietsuitdaging.

Mariske Strauss, Afrika en Suid-Afrika se bergfietskampioen en ‘n Sportwetenskap-student aan die US is baie opgewonde oor die impak wat die HP-program op die sport in Matieland gaan hê.

“Dit is beslis ‘n stap in die regte rigting. Dit beteken ons sport is besig om te groei. Dit gee ook die Maties fietsryers toegang tot ‘n groot verskeidenheid van hulpmiddels, wat almal gaan help om hul sportloopbane te bevorder,” het Strauss gesê.

Strauss, ‘n vierde jaar student, hoop om vanjaar na die Olimpiese Spele in Rio te gaan. Sy het in 2014 haar land by die Statebondspele verteenwoordig.

“Danksy die ondersteuning van die HP-program het ek nie net toegang tot al die wêreldklas-geriewe nie, maar ek het nou ook die geleentheid om saam met die administrasie te werk en hulle die bes moontlike idee te gee oor wat presies in ons sport aan die gang is. Dit is ‘n baie goeie geleentheid om almal bekend te stel aan ons sport en hopelik kan ons sodoende meer deelname en belangstelling in die sport betrek.”

Volgens Strauss help die HP-program om die sport van bergfietsry meer toeganklik te maak op universiteitsvlak. “Ons kan nou meer studente betrokke kry by die sport en bied ‘n geleendheid aan diegene wat nie noodwendig dit self sou kon bekostig om al die ekstras (wat ons nou toegang tot het) te bekom nie. Ons kan dus mense ‘n beter idee gee wat die sport behels en sodoende kan ons baie vinniger groei en verbeter.”

Vir meer Varsity MTB Challenge inligting besoek Sosiale media platforms is Facebook: Varsity MTB Challenge; Twitter: @VarsityMTB en Instagram: @varsitymtb.



HP programme now includes MTB

Mountain biking is now part of the Maties Sport High Performance programme at the Stellenbosch University and this year already also part of the exciting Varsity Sports series.

The Varsity MTB Challenge comprises two multi-day stage races. Varsity MTB Challenge will see the two races take place in the Sondela Nature Reserve in Bela Bela between 9 and 10 July and on La Paris in Franschhoek between 1 and 2 October 2016. The Varsity MTB Challenge will have a unique university flavour. The races are open to the general public, who will be able to race for their university of choice.

The past weekend Maties Cycling won the Intervarsity against UCT convincingly and the local cyclists showed that they are ready to be competitive in the Varsity MTB Challenge.

Mariske Strauss, Africa and South Africa’s mountain bike champion and Sports Science student at the University is very excited about the impact that the HP program will have on the sport in Stellenbosch.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction. This means our sport is growing. It also gives the Maties cyclists access to a vast array of resources, all of which will help to promote their sports careers,” said Strauss.

Strauss, a fourth year student, is hoping to go to the Olympic Games in Rio. She represented her country at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

“Thanks to the support of the HP programme I not only have access to all the world-class facilities, but now I also have the opportunity to work with the administration and give them the best possible idea of what exactly is happening in our sport. This is a great opportunity for our sport and hopefully we can get more participation and interest in the sport.”

According to Strauss the HP programme will help to make the sport of mountain biking more accessible at university level. “We can now engage more students in the sport and offer an opportunity to those who might not have been able to afford all the extras – which we now have access to – themselves. We can therefore give people a better idea of what the sport is about and in this way we can grow much faster and become better.”

For more Varsity MTB Challenge information visit Social media platforms are Facebook: Varsity MTB Challenge; Twitter: @VarsityMTB and Instagram: @varsitymtb.