The mid-year winter recess provided the occasion for the 2017 University Sports South Africa (USSA) Championships, which is an annually contested intervarsity competition between various institutions throughout the country spanning across several sporting disciplines. A large contingent of the University of Pretoria’s sports clubs featured prominently and took home either gold, silver or bronze medals in their respective sporting disciplines.

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) played host to a variety of sporting codes including hockey, rugby, chess and gymnastics. It was in two of these sporting codes that UP ultimately emerged victorious. It was the UP women’s hockey team that set the early precedent as they went one step further this year by taking top honours at the 2017 USSA Hockey event, which took place from 28 June to 2 July, when they defeated the University of Johannesburg (UJ) 1-0 in the A-section final. The men’s team placed in third position earning themselves a bronze medal in their efforts with victory over Wits.

UP were also able to showcase their brainpower as TuksChess were crowned champions of the 2017 USSA chess tournament also hosted at Wits from 3 July to 7 July. The women’s chess team, which consisted of six players, placed in first position and the men’s team, which consisted of 10 players, finished in third. TuksChess chairperson Godfrey Kgatle said of the team’s experience of participating in the competition, “I think this has been one of the most memorable experience[s] that these players would have enjoyed as chess players or as sportsman in a long time. They went there with the idea of having fun, playing the game, winning the game, and that’s exactly what they came back with”.

On the soccer field, TuksFootball men’s and women’s teams displayed strong performances during the football tournament that took place at (UJ) from 3 July to 7 July. After a tight and tense A-section final, the men’s side narrowly missed out on claiming the 2017 USSA football title when they were defeated 4-5 on penalties against their formidable city rivals Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). When asked about his views regarding the team’s performance during the tournament, coach Jan “Mabuza” Motaung answered, “I think the boys did well in the tournament simply because we lost the only game in the final on penalties, and the whole week we only conceded one goal and we scored [in] every game that we played. And when you look also at the possession, we dominated all the games tha t we played, so for me that is a good performance”. The women’s team managed to make it as far as the semi-final stages but were beaten 1-0 by the University of the Western Cape (UWC). They came out 1-0 victors against UJ in the third and fourth playoff match to finish in third position and claim a bronze medal at th e end of the tournament. Both the men’s and women’s football teams will now turn their attention towards the upcoming 2017 Varsity Football competition.

Among other notable performances, the TuksSquash women’s team showed their prowess by achieving gold at the 2017 USSA competition that took place at UJ from 3 July to 7 July. TuksTennis took home the silver medal and managed for the first time in 12 years to qualify for the final of a USSA competition.


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