The athletes of TuksSport have done the University proud once again. Bridgitte Hartley recently became the best female canoeist in the world, LJ van Zyl recorded his best time for the 400 m hurdles in June and is on his way to the IAAF world athletics championships in Berlin with six other UP athletes, while the hockey players and women’s rugby team are also performing well.
Canoeing: Bridgitte Hartley, University of Pretoria student and SA Protea canoeist, is now officially the best female canoeist in the world. Her three medals in the Czech Republic, followed by two third places in Poland and a gold medal in Hungary – a race that included two Olympic winners – in the recent World Cup Series, earned her the No 1 ranking in the world. The series finished on 18 June. Bridgitte was also the joint winner of the TuksSport 2008 Sportswoman of the Year Award.
Athletics: LJ van Zyl recorded his best time of the season – 48.71 seconds – when he finished first in the 400 m hurdles in Greece on 10 June. This time he achieved an A-qualification for the world championships later this year. Another Tuks athlete, Stefan Louw, finished first in the long jump in Prague on 7 June with a distance of 7.95 m. The following Tuks athletes have been included in the South African team of 31 members for the 12th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) world athletics championships in Berlin from 15 to 23 August 2009: Hannes Dreyer (4 x 100 m relay), Pieter Smith (400 m and 4 x 400 m relay), LJ van Zyl (400 m hurdles), Khotso Mokoena (long jump), Isabel le Roux (200 m), Caster Semenya (800 m) and Elizna Naudé (discus).
Hockey: The announcement of the South African men's hockey team to compete in a four-nations tournament from 22 to 28 June in Russia, saw two Tuks players, Rhett Halkett and Jonty Robinson, once again selected to represent their country. Kim Hubach was re-elected to the national women's side for a tournament in Ghana in July. Mention should also be made of Nic Gonsalves, Francois Pretorius and Ben Mabana, who are currently representing the national U/21 men's side in Malaysia, and Nicolene Terblanche, who has recently been selected to represent the national U/21 women's team at the Junior World Cup in Boston.
Rugby: The University's women's rugby team has good reason to be very proud of themselves, as they finished second at an international sevens tournament that took place on the island of Reunion from 18 to 21 June. Tuks, the only club taking part, lost 19-7 to the French national side in the final. The opportunity for Tuks came after the South African national team withdrew from the tournament.