Varsity Sport offering coastal ‘sportainment’

2012-11-16 00:00

WHEN former Springbok rugby captain Francois Pienaar came up with the idea of Varsity Sports, the main motivating factor was to mould the next generation of South Africa’s great sports stars.

At a launch held at Gracelands Lodge in Ramsgate yesterday, Pienaar said the majority of sports players ended their participation in sport once their schooling careers were over.

“Varsity Sports will encourage our young sportsmen and women to continue playing sport. I believe there is a lot of talent there,” said Pienaar.

For the first time ever, student sports festivals will rock Margate with Olympic sporting codes including men’s rugby sevens and women’s beach volleyball matches, which will take place on November 29 and December 1 at Douglas Mitchell Sports Grounds and Margate main beach respectively.

Pienaar said the concept emerged from the Varsity Cup rugby tournament, which started five years ago.

Ten of the country’s top universities will compete against each other.

“I like to describe it as ‘sportainment’, because it is sport and entertainment combined,” he said.

Margate and Plettenberg Bay were the destinations of choice because they are known to be student holiday hotspots.

“It is a great opportunity to scout talent and for the old boys to meet. Hopefully, friends and family will come down to Margate and watch the students play. This will be great for Margate’s economy,” he said.

He added that First National Bank, Steers and Cell C were the main sponsors.

Boet Fourie, the local event organiser who runs the Margate Sports School, said the event was something special for Margate.

“We have worked really hard at the upgrading of Douglas Mitchell [sports grounds] to ensure that everything runs smoothly,” he added.

Hibiscus Coast mayor Cynthia Mqwebu thanked Fourie for promoting sport on the coast.

“This event will boost the tourism market, boost revenue and create the next generation of top sports players,” she said.

The 10 universities to contest the sevens tournament are the universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Free State, Stellenbosch, North West, Limpopo and Western Cape, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and Tshwane University of Technology.

Teams from the universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Limpopo and Western Cape, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and Tshwane University of Technology will compete in the beach volleyball.

All games will be broadcast on Supersport Blitz.

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