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Madibaz relish ‘golden opportunity’ to impress at USSA regatta Madibaz relish ‘golden opportunity’ to impress at USSA regatta
The Madibaz are primed to take on the top student rowing teams in the country at the University Sports South Africa sprints regatta in... Madibaz relish ‘golden opportunity’ to impress at USSA regatta

The Madibaz are primed to take on the top student rowing teams in the country at the University Sports South Africa sprints regatta in the Western Cape this weekend.

Maties will host the competition on Friday and Saturday at the Misverstand Dam on the Berg River near Porterville.

Much like the USSA boat race in Port Alfred each September, this is a premier event that sees the cream of the crop compete in 1,000 m sprints in all classes, from sculls to eight-man crews.

The difference between the two is that the Eastern Cape race caters for eight-man boats that compete over distances ranging from three to five kilometres.

Madibaz Sport rowing manager Melinda Goosen said the club had entered a small team of 12, and she anticipated a rather steep learning curve.

They will compete in the men’s and women’s individual races from the A to novice divisions across all classes bar the eight-man boats.

“It is naturally tough to compete with our numbers, but this is a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure against the country’s top rowers, and we are ready to challenge ourselves.”

She added that it was essential that the Gqeberha rowers, several of whom were relatively new to the sport, competed in these events, given the lack of regular competition back home.

Some of the big local events, such as the Buffalo regatta in East London, took place too early in the year for the Madibaz to be involved, she explained.

Due to the nature of the sport, it is also costly to travel to regattas outside the province.

“So this provides us with a golden opportunity,” she said.

They have been working extremely hard to be race-ready, splitting their time between the ergo machines at the Madibaz High-Performance Complex on campus during the week and the river at Redhouse on weekends.

Goosen said the team’s goal was to secure as many points as possible, as the overall winners were decided based on their total points haul in the various categories of men’s and women’s races.

The top contenders usually include Tuks, UCT and UJ, and she expected 2024 to be no different.

She said selection for the USSA national squad was an incentive to race against the best the land had to offer.

News desk

News desk writes, collates and publishes relevant news for Yiba.

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