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Encouraging start to 2019 for South African university sports

FISU 9 April 2019

South African university sport is set for a bumper year ahead following a positive start, says University Sport South Africa (USSA) President Ms Ilhaam Groenewald. According to her, there have been various encouraging signs that will stimulate continued growth through 2019.


University Sport South Africa (USSA) President Ilhaam GroenewaldSport is an integral part of South African culture, with the country’s universities playing a crucial role in nurturing and building the nation’s sporting heroes. President Groenewald outlined the development strategies in place at the administrative level, which look to ensure the smooth running and success of the university sports movement in South Africa.


“We will be hosting a two-day strategic planning workshop on 11 and 12 April,” she explained. “It is important that we receive updates, understand the strategic vision and take the opportunity for development for our various National University Sports Associations. This year will be a very busy one for the USSA National Executive Committee (NEC).”


“It is important that the NEC takes stock of what we have achieved since our last strategic planning workshop held in 2017,” continued the USSA President. “One of our key result areas is to improve our relations with National Federations, and we’ve started our engagement with Athletics South Africa. I am pleased to report that we had a very fruitful session to pave the way for a productive working relationship, as we continue to grow the USSA brand.”


With elections scheduled for later this year, shortly followed by the FISU General Assembly in November, Groenewald knows that the year 2019, in many ways, will be a short one. Turning her attention to matters away from the boardroom and onto the field, Groenewald heaped praise on former student football player Refiloe Jane (right, centre), who recently achieved the incredible feat of representing the senior South African national team a 100 times. Jane was part of the national university women’s team that featured in the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei.


“Our student-athletes continue to make waves on the international front and we celebrate Refiloe Jane on her 100th cap for Banyana Banyana,” Groenewald beamed. “We are grateful for the contribution that we make as university sport in shaping the lives of our student-athletes.”


Groenewald, who serves as the Chief Director of Sport at Stellenbosch University as well, also highlighted the university’s immense efforts in their long-term project of upgrading their athletics track.


“Universities continue to contribute towards the development of sport in South Africa, and the provision of world-class facilities play an integral part,” she said. “We congratulate the Stellenbosch University with its upgraded Athletics track, that was launched officially on 1 March 2019. Stellenbosch University hosted the USSA Athletics National Champs from 4- 6 April, which was a qualifying event for the FISU Summer Universiade to be held from 3-14 July in Napoli, Italy.”


Finally, in a major achievement for South African university sport, Senior Sports Director at University of Johannesburg Ms Nomsa Mahlangu (left) was voted in as the new President of FASU (Federation of Africa University Sports) at their General Assembly last month, becoming the first female elected in this position – a truly historic feat.


“Congratulations to Nomsa Mahlangu of UJ Sport in becoming the newly-elected President of FASU Africa, taking over this position from Malumbete Ralethe,” Ms Groenewald tweeted immediately after the announcement was made. “We as the USSA family are proud of you!”


A strong start to 2019, both on and off the field for South African university sport, no doubt bodes well for the rest of the year.