Despite 2020 being an unfortunate year concerning many sporting events, and the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 seems to offer a lot more for our entertainment. It’s been a year since the first case of the virus in South Africa, and it has delayed many contact sports as well as complicated the way forward when considering necessary safety measures and social distancing. In the face of the setback, athletes and coaches have learnt to adapt and continue with sports events safely. We can definitely enjoy and expect a lot more with TuksSport during 2021.
Olympic Trials are still happening this year with Rocco Meiring, TuksSwimming’s head coach, preparing his swimmers for the big day of qualifiers. The qualifying tournament to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games or the World Student Games is happening in April 2021. The event was originally supposed to be held at the Kings Park Swimming Pool in Durban, however, the stadium is still in poor condition. The qualifiers will therefore most likely take place in Port Elizabeth/ Gqeberha. According to TuksSport, the swimmers compete for a 6 day period during qualifiers and have been training daily for the last 6 months with only one break from 24 to 27 December. Many are looking forward to the performance of Tatjana Schoenmaker and Kaylene Corbett, as Meiring is hopeful they will qualify for the upcoming Olympics.
TuksAthletics relay team athletes, Akani Simbine, Thando Dlodlo, Chederick van Wyk, Sinesipho Dambile, Simon Magakwe, Clarence Munyai and Henricho Bruintjies, are getting back on Athletics Relays. This tournament is set to begin at the start of May. The South African 4x100m relay athletes have set their eyes on the same goal for when they compete in the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games. According to TuksSport, their national relay coach, Paul Gorries, “is a firm believer that practice makes perfect.” The athletes often train at training camps, the most recent one took place on 20 February at the Bestmed TuksAthletics Stadium. All teammates share the same sentiment that training creates teamwork, which is exactly what is needed to win medals in the coming future. Two more athletes, Anaso Jobodwana and Phatutshedzo Maswanganyi will join the team when travel regulations allow it. Both Jobodwana and Maswanganyi are currently in the United States.
TuksRugby’s Varsity Cup is also a huge sporting event for UP students, so many can look forward to its return on 8 March this year. This is the day the tournament kicks off with UP first playing Wits. Head coach of TuksRugby, Nico Luus, mentions it’s been almost a year since the players went out onto the field for a game. TuksSports explains that the COVID-19 pandemic did not dampen the rugby team’s spirits, as this time was used to rethink strategies and discover new ideas for future matches. All health and safety measures are being taken with the players are being observed and the players that show signs of illness are quarantined.
TuksSport seems ready for action again, and athletes as well as coaches are excited to get back to their passions and competing. There are many more sporting events to expect from TuksSport in the coming year.