Varsity Sports has proven to be a life-changing initiative for South African sportsmen and women.
Following the huge success of the Varsity Cup rugby tournament, which kicked off in 2008, Varsity Sports was launched in 2012 to enable South African universities to compete against each other in several sporting codes.
Sadly, no Varsity Sports events were held in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the action will resume on Saturday, 21 August with the eighth edition of Varsity Netball. The much-anticipated tournament is taking place in a bio-bubble at Stellenbosch University’s Coetzenburg Indoor Centre, with nine rounds of matches in 10 days.
To celebrate the fact that Varsity Sports provides South Africa’s youth with a springboard to success, two striking #ChangingLives banners will be on display during this year’s Varsity Netball and Varsity Football tournaments.
‘We are excited to be part of Varsity Sports as we believe that sport can change lives and contribute to the development of South Africa,’ says Bonga Sebesho, Head of Sponsorships at FNB. ‘Our collective contribution on this platform has been key to nurturing talent from grassroots levels to a global platform. Our aim is to help our athletes to reach their potential through competitive and fun sporting codes. As bank of #TheChangeables we will continue to invest in creating a pipeline of talent in the different sporting codes that we support, thereby changing lives and enabling dreams.’
Each banner features 10 outstanding athletes who have gone on to achieve great things since excelling for their universities. They are:
- Nomnikelo Veto (Varsity Hockey, Wits – Proteas women’s hockey team)
- Jason van Rooyen (Varsity Athletics, UJ – SA Olympic shot-putter)
- Shadine van der Merwe (Varsity Netball, Tuks – Proteas netball team)
- Ronald Brown (Varsity Sevens, UJ – Springbok Sevens team)
- Ané Bester (née Botha) (Varsity Netball, UFS Kovsies – SA U18, SA U20, Free State)
- Keenan Horne (Varsity Hockey, Maties – Proteas men’s hockey team)
- Kristen Paton (Varsity Hockey, UJ – Proteas women’s hockey team)
- Sokwakhana Zazini (Varsity Athletics, Tuks – SA Olympic athlete, 400m hurdles)
- Lerato Mahole (Varsity Hockey, Tuks – Proteas women’s hockey team)
- Ruswahl Samaai (Varsity Athletics, UJ – SA Olympic long-jumper)
- Jo-Ane van Dyk (Varsity Athletics, NWU – SA Olympic javelin-thrower)
- Kurt-Lee Arendse (Varsity Sevens, UWC – Springbok Sevens team)
- Gift Leotlela (Varsity Athletics, Tuks – SA Olympic athlete, 100m sprint)
- Onthatile Zulu (Varsity Hockey, Tuks – Proteas women’s hockey team)
- Samkelo Mvimbi (Varsity Hockey, Tuks – Proteas men’s hockey team)
- Akani Simbine (Varsity Athletics, Tuks – SA Olympic athlete, 100m sprint)
- Chederick van Wyk (Varsity Athletics, NWU – SA Olympic sprinter)
- Khanyisa Chawane (Varsity Netball, UFS Kovsies – Proteas netball team)
- Nduduzo Lembethe (Varsity Hockey, Tuks – Proteas men’s hockey team)
- Izette Griesel (Varsity Netball, Tuks – Proteas netball team)
‘South Africa is one of the world’s key sporting nations, so it’s important that we have a development pipeline for high-performance sport,’ says Xhanti Lomzi-Nesi, Varsity Sports Tournament Manager. ‘Varsity Sports has provided that for student athletes, many of whom have gone on to achieve higher honours in various sporting codes.
‘It’s special for us to put the spotlight on those who have come through Varsity Sports channels, and to highlight the fact that Varsity Sports has changed so many lives by providing players and athletes with a platform to showcase their talent and live their dream. This includes those who participated in the recent Olympic Games.’
In addition to the #ChangingLives banners, the Varsity Sports website will be producing a series of articles throughout the Varsity Netball and Varsity Football tournaments on those whose lives were never the same again after representing their university.