Sports stars face a tough exam match

2010-10-31 13:40

They are used to ­battles on the pitch, in the ring, on the track or in the pool.

But it is at this time of the year that sports stars have to be competitive in an unusual role – as students.

When the matric examinations kicked off this week, swimming sensation Chad le Clos was among the approximately 642 691 learners who sat for the ultimate test of their secondary ­education.

Across at least five tertiary institutions in the country, sport stars such as 800m world champion Caster ­Semenya, Kaizer Chiefs captain Jimmy Tau, unblemished heavyweight Flo Simba and ­Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies are among those whose academic credentials are being tested.

Swimmer Le Clos, who won two gold medals in the 200m butterfly and the 400m individual medley at the Commonwealth Games, is probably the most popular sportsman-turned-matriculant this year.

The Westville High learner started his exams mid-week.

“When?I came back from India I knew that I had to knuckle down and do some work. I was a bit blurred then but everything is okay now,” said Le Clos.

The 18-year-old Durbanite said after the difficulty of having to catch up following the time he lost while in New Delhi, he had turned?the?tide?and?was?ready for exams?in?all?his?seven?subjects.

Le Clos is registered for English, Afrikaans, Maths, Physical Science, History, Geography and Life Orientation.

Although he may admittedly not be able to pursue post-matric studies full-time due to his swimming commitments, Le Clos hopes to study further.

“I want to study sports ­science, but next year I intend going full force in my swimming career,” said the swimmer who will finish his exams on
December 1.

Several Banyana Banyana players – including former captain Simphiwe Dludlu and striker Leandra Smeda – have more than the African Women’s Championships that kick off this afternoon to worry about.

“We have a number of players who have exams to write. Some are at tertiary institutions, some at secondary schools and others at colleges,” said coach Augustine Makalakalane.

The other Banyana players who are currently studying are Yolula Tsawe (Grade 11, Nyangelizwe Secondary, Umtata); Amanda Dlamini (road transport management, University of ­Johannesburg); Mary Ntsweng (accounting, Unisa); Nthabeleng Modiko (banking, UJ); Gabisile Hlumbane (administration, ­University of the Free State); Sanah Mollo (marketing, UFS); and Jermaine Seoposengwe (Grade 11, Portland Secondary School, Cape Town).

In Naturena, Chiefs captain Tau is among the four players who have to dribble past exams.

The others are Kaizer Motaung Jnr, Punch Masenamela and Abia Nale. But Chiefs media ­liaison officer Luthando Zibeko said the club would not allow players to talk about their ­exams in the media.

He added that the club had taken measures to allow players to focus on both their studying and playing commitments.

No such arrangements are necessary at Orlando Pirates, as none of the playing personnel are juggling balls with books.

“Of the current squad we have no one who is writing exams this year,” said club spokesperson Mickey Modisane.

Two tertiary institutions with clubs in the PSL and first division – Wits University and University of Pretoria – have a number of players writing.

Among the Wits players who are studying are injured captain Sibusiso Mahlangu (sports management), Katlego Pule (BCom) and Brad Phillips (BSc).

Three Wits youngsters – Asive Langwe, Enrico Adolph and Christopher Flandorp – are studying at Cambridge College.

NFD side University of Pretoria has about five players who are studying at the academic ­institution.

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