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2009 Intervarsity Sports Kicks-Off at Rhodes on Friday

Date Released: Wed, 12 August 2009 13:54 +0200

The 2009 Intervarsity sports event which takes place at Rhodes University every third year kicks off on Friday morning in Grahamstown with golf, cricket, squash and tennis contests.

The sports extravaganza, previously called Tri-varsity, that traditionally features Rhodes, Fort Hare and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University as competitors, has been expanded to include Walter Sisulu University for the first time. The organisation of the event was this year threatened by a flu scare and possible impacts emanating from industrial action faced by Rhodes in the last week.

Grahamstown has had a higher than usual incidence of flu which negatively impacted sporting activities in the town during the early part of the third term. This prompted the University Sports Administration at Rhodes to put a hold on all sporting activities for some five days. Thereafter, Sports Administration issued a high alert advisory to both recreational and intervarsity participants, urging them to exercise care, to be particularly alert and ensure they make responsible choices about participation in sport during this period.

Sports Administration was equally concerned about the possible impact that could be suffered as a result of the labour industrial action. NEHAWU had embarked on an industrial action following their disagreement with the University Administration about the manner in which monies to make salaries at Rhodes competitive were allocated.

The industrial action ended yesterday (Tuesday, 11 August 2009) following an agreement reached between NEHAWU and the University.

According to Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic & Student Affairs, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, while illness and industrial action are challenges that institutions such as universities must deal with from time to time, the union and the administration worked tirelessly to ensure that a settlement was reached sooner. “The University is pleased that intervarsity will proceed as planned, and we are looking forward to an exciting intervarsity,” he said.

This year’s event will see about 900 students from the four universities, taking part in 18 sporting codes ranging from chess, swimming and surfing to netball, soccer and rugby, over two days (Friday and Saturday, 14 and 15 August). 

The festivities will include a massive Rhodes SRC (Student Representative Council) organised intervarsity party to celebrate what is undoubtedly the biggest annual university sporting event in the province.

“We are keen to see all making the most of a unique occasion where students studying in the Eastern Cape not only contesting each other on the sporting fields, but build in many a case lasting friendship as part of their university experience,” said Roger Adams, Rhodes University Head of Sports.