Sure, the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup in 2023, but on the local front, there were some pretty amazing achievements too. Here, the DFA sports desk pages through the files on a trip through this past year. This week, we look at highlights from January to June.
January 2023 started with a bang, when two of the strongest bench pressers from the Northern Cape excelled at the South African Classic and Equipped Bench Press Championships held in Potchefstroom.
A total of 95 powerlifters from throughout South Africa competed at the event from January 6 to 8, with Ricardo Fitzpatrick and Gys Smith flying the flag for the NC and Kimberley in the 83kg and 120kg+ classes respectively.
Fitzpatrick defeated the field by pressing 150kg to earn gold in both the Open and Master 1 under-83kg classes, while in the 120kg+ Master 2 class, Gys Smith also out-lifted the competition with 190kg to win gold.
Both lifters were selected for the SA teams to compete in the Asian/Pacific/African Bench Press Championships that happened from June 23 to 30, and the African Classic and Equipped Bench Press Championships, in Potchefstroom, between March 10 to 12.
Then, not powerlifting, but certainly uplifting was the story of 16-year-old Amra-Faye Greenen who became the youngest scout in the Northern Cape to receive her Springbok Scouting badge.
Amra-Faye joined the Gladstone Scouts at a younger-than-average age, making her the organisation’s youngest member in the Northern Cape and one of the youngest in the country to earn the Springbok badge.
And on the rugby field, it cannot be disputed that the Windhoek Draught Griquas had a wonderful season in 2022, making it all the way to the Currie Cup final.
The two smallest franchises in the competition blasted their way past the top teams, making it a year of upsets. Griquas faced the Pumas and had the opportunity to once again make history by winning the final on home soil. But when the visitors defeated Griquas 26-19, for the players and the supporters, it was a difficult pill to swallow. However, that Currie Cup final will be remembered for many years to come.
And in January Griquas started to build again for their 2023 season.
There are those for whom tennis is a sport that they play regularly and they have such a passion for it that they actually want to expand interest in the game to others, especially the younger generation.
One such person is Itumeleng Nkopane from the Diamond Aces Tennis Club.
Itumeleng was passionate about making the game of tennis more accessible to young people. “We want to provide young people with the chance to experience tennis first hand, Nkopane told the DFA. “We want to demonstrate the game to them, provide them with coaching sessions throughout the day, and ideally they will take an interest in it enough to join a tennis club nearby,” he added.
In March two Northern Cape High School learners, Kieran Kelly, 17, and Keegan Minopetros, 14, were selected to represent their province at the South African Junior National Bowls Championship in Bloemfontein from April 3-6 this year.
Speaking to 14-year-old Keegan Minopetros it became clear that he inherited his family’s passion for the sport of bowls. “My grandparents, uncle, and father are all devoted players, and witnessing their games inspired me to take up the sport as well,” he told the DFA.
Meanwhile, winning was not new to Kieran who said that he competed at the Under-15 South African Nationals and won a gold medal in Bloemfontein. In 2022, he also participated in the Under-30 Northern Cape Masters Singles Championships and emerged victorious.
Then who will forget the loving but almost sadistic young man that got his family to cycle the Cape Town Cycle tour as a surprise?
“I almost died, but I will do it all over again with a bit more practice next time.”
These were the words of Kimberley resident Edrich Fourie after completing the Cape Town Cycle tour that he and his family were signed up for without them even knowing.
Edrich’s brother, Benje Fourie, while wondering how he could spend some quality time with his family when he came down to South Africa from Amsterdam, thought that the Cycle Tour would be perfect.
And after the shock had worn off, some training was done, and the weekend of the competition arrived.
All in all the family enjoyed the ride, but vowed not to be caught off-guard next time.
Also in March, lucky man AJ Pretorius from Jan Kempdorp, told the DFA that he was on his way back home from vacation when he received a call from a member of the Pirates tug of war club that he had won the Beesloop competition.
“They informed me that I was the lucky winner of R66,500. So on my way through Kimberley, I stopped at the club and collected my cheque,” he said. “And to think, I only spent R350 for one ticket, and now I made a profit of R66,150,” he added.
This was also the month when the Elizabeth Conradie School in Kimberley made headlines for their impressive performances at the South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled competition held in Cape Town.
The school’s motto: ‘Lux Orta Est’ (the light arose) was definitely showcased by the 15 athletes who participated in Boccia, athletics, cycling, and powerlifting. Through them, the school brought home an impressive haul of medals.
In Boccia, two bronze medals were won, a great achievement for the school. In athletics, seven gold and one bronze medal were awarded to the school’s athletes, highlighting their strength and skill in this area.
The cyclists took home an astounding 25 gold, two silver, and two bronze medals, taking second place in the country for their efforts.
Finally, in the powerlifting category, the athletes brought home six gold medals and were crowned first in the country.
It was in April that fot first time ever, a sanctioned 3D archery event was held in the city, and archers from across the Northern Cape took part in what turned out to be a highly successful competition when the Kimberley Adventure Archery Club played host to the African Bow Hunting Organisation’s 3D Leg 1 competition at the Kimberley Big Hole Driving Range.
May was Classic Clashes month and despite Diamantveld’s resounding success throughout the Classic Clashes tournament, it was Northern Cape High School that managed to steal the show in the nail-biting climax of the tournament – the Under-19 rugby match.
The NCH Under-19 first team triumphed over Diamantveld with a razor-thin margin of 18-17. The triumph resonated deeply with the team, and tears welled up in the eyes of the players, a testament to the magnitude of their achievement.
The head of rugby at NCH, Deon Carney, was hoisted onto the shoulders of the jubilant players, a gesture symbolising their satisfaction with their coach and their wholehearted praise for a job well done. The jubilant chorus of “Deon, Deon, Deon” reverberated through the air, giving voice to their admiration.
The 96th edition of the Comrades Marathon was run on Sunday, June 11th and the down run once again showcased remarkable displays of athleticism, with both old records being broken and new records being set as the participants pushed the boundaries of human endurance.
As for Kimberley, amidst the sea of dedicated runners, a contingent of 17 athletes from the Kimberley Harriers Running Club stood tall, having prepared themselves physically and mentally for the ultimate challenge. Their unwavering commitment and rigorous training regimen prepared them well for the race.
The DFA spoke to two athletes after they returned from the Comrades; Kobus van der Walt and Thapelo Mathetsa were happy to share their unique experiences of participating in the ultra marathon.
And then a warm welcome awaited Kimberley’s very own Donavon Metebesi when he touched down at the Kimberley Airport on Tuesday after making his mark at the Special Olympics held in Germany from June 7 to June 26. It was clear that his loved ones had eagerly awaited his return.
The talented 26-year-old athlete represented South Africa in table tennis, and thanks to his skills and determination, returned home with a gold and a bronze medal. His outstanding performances have not only made his friends and family proud but has also highlighted the potential of athletes with disabilities.
And rounding up June’s action, was the thrill of a motorcycle wheel’s rubber knobs biting into and gripping loose dirt, mud, sand, and other off-road surfaces was close to the heart of Kimberley’s Abri van Tonder, a talented 10th grade learner from Northern Cape High School.
Abri, a rookie at best, has been causing quite a stir in the motocross fraternity this year. Competing in the Free State and Northern Cape regional championships held in Bloemfontein, he demonstrated exceptional skills and determination on the track.
In his first year of formal competitions, Abri has already made an impressive mark in the racing scene. Despite facing tough competition from national championship riders, he has managed to secure a commendable fourth position overall in his class, with four races still remaining in the championship.