There will be new faces and new places when the Varsity Athletics commences on March 1st at the Maties Coetzenburg Athletics Stadium.
The stars of the future will be on show at the new Maties Coetzenburg Athletics Stadium on March 1, with Maties confident they can reach excellence at their new home ground.
The first leg of Varsity Athletics will take place at the Coetzenburg Track in Stellenbosch with the second leg taking place at the Kenneth McArthur Track in Potchefstroom.
UP-Tuks were the overall champions in 2018, just beating NWU and UJ to claim the title. This year Maties hopes to compete for the title or at least make a podium finish according to rising star Breyton Poole.
“We are very confident of winning the trophy this year. We have some new first years and new recruitments coming in, so we stand a very good chance of giving Tuks and the other universities a run for the money.
“The guys and girls are running fast times so we are quite confident that we can end up in the top three this year and improve on the previous year.”
The high jump sensation is ecstatic to have the first leg of the competition in Stellenbosch and believes the Maties crowd can see them through.
“To have the first Varsity Athletics at the Maties home ground is truly an honour. Hopefully the Coetzenberg and the whole of Stellenbosch get behind the Maroon Machine. I want to see some fast times and good performances all-round on the track as well and on the field. I Hope the crowds can keep the gees going all the way and make it a nice and enjoyable evening.”
Maties Athletics captain Janke van Wyk is excited that they can open their new track with the Varsity Athletics competition.
“We are extremely excited about hosting Varsity Athletics as this is the first important meeting to be held on our new track. We’ve been waiting for over a year to introduce this track to the rest of South Africa’s athletes and what an amazing track it is. There’s not a single track in South Africa that offers the view and scenery that the Maties track offers. We are very excited to show it off.”
Van Wyk believes that although some of the senior athletes have gone, their youth should help them do well this season.
“Although we’ve lost a few great senior athletes, like Justine Palframan, we also gained a lot of young talented junior athletes, for example Breyton Poole, Linford Maree and Juli Vercuiel. I think we are at a building phase and focusing on ending in the top three this year.”
Maties Chief Director of Sport Ilhaam Groenewald says the new track is shows the universities’ pursuit of sporting excellence.
“The multi-million rand investment for the upgrading of the Coetzenburg Athletics stadium is aligned to the university’s commitment to excellence. Our strategy is for Maties Sport to be the preferred partner to prospective and current student-athletes and staff, schools, sport structures, communities, international athletes.
“Quality sport facilities contribute towards the university’s commitment to excellence and we trust that our athletes and spectators will have an enjoyable experience.”
Varsity Athletics manager Jana Arlow says this year’s Varsity Athletics is uniquely positioned to boost athletes’ chances of making the South African National team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the World Student Games.
“We are so excited that Varsity Athletics is so perfectly placed to assist athletes in their qualifying for the World Student Games in July in Italy. Also, with 2020 being an Olympic year, I hope that our meets will assist athletes to grow and improve, with their eye on 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.”
Arlow thanked USSA Athletics, Athletics South Africa and their sponsors Wimpy and FNB, for their support to make the dreams of these athletes come true.
“As always Varsity Athletics is about giving student athletes the opportunity and exposure to grow and meet their potential and this platform would not exist without the continued support of USSA Athletics, Athletics South Africa and our esteemed sponsors FNB and Wimpy.”