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Integrating sport into the Rhodes way of life

Date Released: Fri, 25 March 2011 08:46 +0200

It was a great year for Rhodes sport last year, especially in terms of the university’s many sports-based outreach programmes, says Mr Roger Adams, the head of Sports Administration. 

This year, Mr Adams says they plan to consolidate and focus some of these campus-based initiatives. Included among these is the five-a-side futsal programme, an adapted form of soccer that has gained popularity worldwide. The Lotto Distribution Fund allocated R3.3 million (of an overall grant of R4.5 million) to the university last year to re-do the hockey astro-turf. This in turn made it possible for the university to build a futsal pitch which will not only benefit Rhodes students, but all members of the Grahamstown community.

Unlike other forms of indoor football, futsal (derived from the Portuguese and Spanish terms for ‘salon football’) is played on a hard court surface marked by lines. A smaller, less bouncy ball is used and the rules focus on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces.

There are 31 sports clubs on offer at Rhodes this year. Last year, there was an upward trend in membership for the karate and golf clubs and the mountain club’s rock-face climbing is more popular than ever. The athletics club was named Club of the Year and the fly-fishing club boosted their activity by acquiring a brand new motor boat.

Mr Adams says he has noticed an increase in interest in outdoors, more recreational type of sports, including an increase of members at the health suite, which received seven state-of-the-art treadmills last year. The health suite is also due for an expansion seeing as adjacent space has become available, creating more space to accommodate the intake of first year students.

The highlights of 2010 included hosting the biggest tournament in student sport last year- the University Sport South Africa Soccer Tournament. The Rhodes University Sportman and Sportswoman of the Year 2010- Michael Cannon and Nathalie Ross- are both duathletes, so participation in duathlons is also expected to feature strongly on the sporting calendar this year.

He remarked that “Sports Admin is particularly delighted at the increased impact that student leaders have had on the governance of sport at both a strategic and day-to-day level. This aspect of student development in the context of leadership is a particular cornerstone to the approach of sport at Rhodes.”