Johannesburg - Eight University of Johannesburg students, club athletes and staff members will be jetting off to Glasgow, Scotland, for this year’s Commonwealth Games as part of the South African team.
UJ’s presence at the Games -- which takes place from July 23 to August 3 -- would be bolstered even further with three alumni sports stars also joining more than 150 of the country’s top athletes to compete in 16 sporting codes.
According to the university’s coaches and sport managers, the chances were looking good for these sportsmen and women to bring home a few medals.
“Looking at our ranking list and the current performances of some of our athletes, UJ stands a good chance of bringing back at least three medals,” said UJ's senior sport manager Francois Fouche.
The athletics team heading to the Glasgow included 25-year-old transport management student Zarck Visser who would participate in the long jump event.
Visser was currently ranked first in South Africa and Africa, second in the Commonwealth and sixth in the world.
He will be joined by fellow transport management student, 24-year-old Ruswahl Samaai, who lay second in the national rankings, fifth in the Commonwealth and 15th worldwide.
Olympic silver medallist and UJ club member Godfrey Khotso Mokoena rounded out the university’s athletics contingent.
The 29-year-old triple jumper currently occupied the number one spot nationally and number five in the Commonwealth rankings.
Temporary UJ staff member Emmarie Fouche, one of the highest qualified jumps coaches in SA, joined them as the national jumps coach.
Emmarie, who said it was an honour to be able to “live out her passion at the highest level”, will be playing a vital role during the competition.
UJ's 24-year-old chiropractic student Bernadette Coston, made the women's hockey team and 23-year-old finance student Clinton Panther was included in the men’s side.
Club player Lilian du Plessis joined Coston in the women’s line-up, while staff member Adrian Carolan would fill the role of video analyst.
“It’s always an honour, not only for the players but also for UJ hockey, to have a presence in a national team,” said UJ hockey manager Elize le Roux.
“As an institution we feel we had a hand in their inclusion. It’s a feather in our cap and confirmation that we are utilising the right system in coaching our players.”
Le Roux said hockey development was still relatively new to UJ, but that the university had high quality human resources in its players and staff.
UJ alumna Lisa-Marie Deetlefs and Marsha Cox would again turn out for the women’s team, while Erasmus Pieterse had been included in the men’s squad.
Springbok rugby star Bryan Habana, who attended the former RAU, will take to the field as part of the rugby sevens team.