Students must be agents of changeDate Released: Thu, 25 October 2012 14:00 +0200
The CEO of the Local Organising Committee for the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), Mr Mvuzo Mbebe addressed students at the annual Rhodes Sports Awards and said ‘Rhodes needs to find its place in South African university sport’.
The former Rhodes student posed a challenge to the current student about the role students have in the development of sports at the university and in society, saying that “students must inform and be the agents of change”.
He further said that sport is a powerful tool in South African society, as it defines our psyche and identity as a nation – but students are responsible for keeping the country in check. “We won [medals at] the Olympics, but by sheer luck,” he said.
“This is something that students need to solve.” Pointing to the Springbok team of 1995 and Penny Heyns, Mr Mbebe said that young people have carried the nation’s sport forward before – and they must do it again now.
When it came to the awards, it was the Pool Club and the Rowing Club that were deemed to have been the best. With the medals won at Boat Race in September and a fantastic management system, the Rowing Club won for committee of the year and the prestigious club of the year award.
The Pool Club also won two awards: performance of the year and most improved club. They were praised for their members in provincial and national teams as well as breaking a world record earlier this year.
The two most prestigious awards were left until the end of the evening. Andrew Lowndes and Leigh de Necker, Mr and Ms Sports Personality 2013, announced the winners of the Best Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year.
The finalists for the men’s award were Tafadwa Chitokwindo (rugby), Darryn van Huystenn (Athletics) and Simon Pheasant (Aquatics), but the winner was Lance Ho of the Archery Club.
Ho received his national colours for coaching archery earlier this year, and travelled to London to coach the Paralympic team in July. He also set a Guinness World Record for 36 consecutive hours of archery this year.
The women’s award was picked up by Natalie Ross, who beat the Coppinger sisters (Underwater), Brittany Denton (karate), Leah Sloman (athletics) and Nobubele Phuza (netball).
Ross was unable to collect her award in person as she was in New Zealand at the time, competing in an athletics tournament, although she has since returned home. This year she competed for South Africa in the Biathlete World Championship in Dubai. She also broke the Rhodes 4km, 10km, 15km, 21km and Olympic duathlon records, all this year.
The Rhodes Sports Awards aimed to recognise the Rhodes athletes such as coach of the year, most improved club and club of the year.
Coach of the Year (Staff) Antonio Blom (Athletics)
Coach of the Year (Student) Lance Ho (Archery)
By Matthew Kynaston