Looking back at the year in sport

As we look forward to a well-deserved break, here’s a look back at some of the sporty people who made headlines in Athlone News in 2023.

Pictured are members of the TV Stars Minstrel Troupe during their Grand March Pass in the first round of this year’s KKKA Klopse competition season, at Athlone Stadium. This past Saturday, December 16, saw the traditional “voorsmakie” Parade at Kenilworth race track ahead of the street parade on Tuesday January 2. Picture: Fuad Esack

In January, we kicked the year off in festive and colourful mood with the annual “Tweede Nuwe Jaar” Street parade in the CBD, followed by the opening round of the 2023 minstrel competition season, at Athlone Stadium.

Rylands Cricket Club’s Rushdi Jappie, leading by example. Picture: Mark Ward

A five-wicket haul by Rylands Cricket Club’s Rushdi Jappie ensured a well-deserved 27-run victory for the hosts over Durbanville Cricket Club, during a Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) Premier League match, at the AW Mukuddem Oval, towards the end of January.

Kyle Pipepi of Athlone Athletics tries to oust Clayton Manual of Bellville Tygers during a WP Major league Baseball match against Bellville played at the PP Smit sport complex in Bellville, earlier this season. Picture: Mark Ward

In February, Athlone Athletics shook things up at the top as they took down Bothasig Knights with a 7-6 scoreline to enter the conversation for league honours. The win took them to 24 points, level with both Knights and Bellville Tygers.

UWC leg spinner Abubakr Samodien in fine form for the students. Picture: Mark Ward

On the cricketing front, leg spinner Abubakr Samodien’s five-wicket haul helped the University of the Western Cape to bounce back to their winning ways, following a 69-run defeat against log leaders Western Province Cricket Club (WPCC).

Greenwood Athletic’s Yizaad Damonse and Clover FC’s Sifiso Cetywayo tussle for the ball during their sides’ Bayhill Premier Cup play-off fixture earlier this year. Picture: Fuad Esack

In soccer action, Greenwood Athletic FC, last year’s Bayhill Premier Cup Plate winners, earned their spot among the teams who have qualified for the 2023 edition of the under-19 soccer tournament played at Erica Park in Belhar.

Bonteheuwel gymnast Meeka Roman, 10, was part of the SA squad that took part at the World Gymnaestrada 2023 in Amsterdam, in July. Picture: Fuad Esack

Still in February, Meeka Roman, 10, from Bonteheuwel, and a member of the Athlone-based Bemur Gymnastics and Dance, earned a spot on the SA squad that took part at the World Gymnaestrada 2023 in Amsterdam, in July. A Grade 4 pupil at Silverlea Primary School, young Meeka has been doing gymnastics for four years.

Primrose bowler, David Schierhout

In March, Primrose bowler, David Schierhout established himself as the highest-wicket-taker in WPCA First Division A with 42 wickets in 16 games. Teammate Yusuf Keet occupied ninth spot with 22 wickets in 15 games.

Rylands Cricket Club’s Jack Newby produced a splendid innings against Claremont. Picture: Mark Ward

Rylands Cricket Club’s Jack Newby delivered a splendid innings of 128 (11×4, 3×6) off 148 deliveries against Claremont but it was not enough to prevent them slipping down the log with defeats against Claremont and Kraaifontein.

Athlone golfer Isabella Heber, 12, one of the youngest to win a club championship. Picture: Fuad Esack

Promising golfer Isabella Heber, 12, an all-round sporty girl from Athlone, made her mark on the greens by winning the Royal Cape club championships, becoming one of the youngest, if not the youngest, player to win a club championship title in the Western Cape.

Riaan Galant, 18, a matriculant at Eros Special Education School in Bridgetown, smashed three records at the SA Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) national championships. Picture: Fuad Esack

The athletics track and field season drew to a close towards at the end of March with promising athletes from across the city giving a good account of themselves at regional and national championships. Riaan Galant, 18, a matriculant at Eros Special Education School in Bridgetown, smashed three records at the SA Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) national championships, held at various venues across the city.

A member of the Athlone-based Unitie Sports Club, the young athlete has been involved with athletics for six years, specialising in field events javelin, shot put and discus.

Manenberg’s Wasim “Kleuring’” Chellan, crowned World Boxing Federation’s All Africa welterweight champion in April. Picture: Lonwabo Marele

In April, Manenberg’s Wasim “Kleuring’” Chellan went to war for 10 rounds to beat Pretoria’s Lybon Ntshani, by a unanimous points’ decision to be crowned World Boxing Federation’s All Africa welterweight champion, at the Sunningdale sports complex.

Bayhill under-19 Premier Cup winners Grassy Park United. Picture: Fuad Esack

Grassy Park United made history when they beat Cape Town Spurs 2-1 to lift the Bayhill under-19 Premier Cup trophy at Athlone Stadium, on Easter Monday April 10. With more than 12 000 bums on seats, the finals attracted more spectators than some PSL matches played at the same venue.

Toufeeq Baatjies, aka BBoy Toufeeq, and Lakeisha Dick, aka BGirl Keisha, represented South Africa at the Red Bull BC One in Paris.

Cape Town breakdancers Toufeeq Baatjies, 27, and Lakeisha Dick, 16, were crowned champions in their respective divisions at the Red Bull BC One national breakdance finals, at GrandWest, at the end of April. The two represented South Africa at the Red Bull BC One world finals at the Stade Roland-Garros, in Paris, in October.

In a historic first for Africa, the South African Ice Hockey (SAIHF) national team have made it to the qualifying rounds of the Olympics Games. Picture: Fuad Esack

In May, South Africa’s senior men’s ice hockey team finished in third place behind Turkmenistan and winners Chinese Taipei, at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Division III Group A senior men’s world championship, at GrandWest. Last week the SA Ice Hockey Federation announced that the men’s national team made it to qualifying rounds of the Olympics Games.

Boundary Table Tennis Club’s Jade Sasman, from Bonteheuwel, on her way to winning gold in the senior women’s division at the Cape Town Table Tennis Open championships earlier this year.

Boundary Table Tennis Club’s Jade Sasman, from Bonteheuwel, was in fine form at the Cape Town Table Tennis Open, winning gold in the senior women’s division. Shiloh Topspinners Table Tennis Club’s Shaun Jones, from Manenberg won the senior men’s title.

Cape Town Tigers Basketball Club assistant coach Vincent Luyanda Ntunja, from Gugulethu, was selected to join Minnesota Timberwolves for the NBA Summer League – Africa Coaches Programme. Picture: Fuad Esack

In June, Cape Town Tigers Basketball Club assistant coach Vincent Luyanda Ntunja, from Gugulethu, was selected to join Minnesota Timberwolves for the NBA Summer League – Africa Coaches Programme.

Star skateboarder Jean-marc Johannes, from Athlone, continued to raise the bar in 2023.

Record-breaking professional skateboarder Jean-marc Johannes, from Athlone, became the only South African skateboarder to receive a podium place at the recent FISE World series Am 2023 in Montpellier, France.

History maker Nuha Shah won gold at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Youth Championships in Abu Dhabi. Picture: Buntu Gotywa

In August, Nuha Shah, 15, made history by becoming the first South African to clinch gold at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Youth Championships. Nuha returned home from Abu Dhabi where she once again took part in this year’s IMMAF Youth Competition, again making the podium with a bronze medal in the Youth Girls’ B under-48kg section.

Magadien Jappie, who died in September, pictured here in his hey day.

In September, we paid tribute to Collegians RFC stalwart Magadien Jappie, who died on Monday, August 28, after being admitted to Victoria Hospital in Wynberg. Considered as a legend of the game, Jappie played his entire rugby career at the club, while also representing WP and SARU under the SACOS banner.

It was a big year for Vygieskraal-based Hamediehs RFC which includes earning WPRFU Super League B status. Picture: Fuad Esack

The Vygieskraal-based Hamediehs RFC defied expectations as they earned promotion to Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) Super League B (SLB) after defeating Macassar 20-13.

Manenberg’s Bruce-Lynn Damons on his way to winning Nantes Athletic Club’s Heritage Day race. Picture: Fuad Esack

Manenberg’s Bruce-Lynn Damons, was first to cross the finish line in Nantes Athletic Club’s Heritage Day race on Sunday September 24, shaving 2 seconds off his own course record and finishing in 29.45sec, to claim his R1 000 bonus prize.

Coke Cup champions 2023, Hanover Park’s Diadora FC. Picture: Fuad Esack

In October, Hanover Park’s Diadora FC, lifted the trophy after a 1-0 win against Bonteheuwel’s Goulburn Athletic AFC in front of a bumper crowd at a packed Athlone Stadium.

Goulburn FC captain, Shakeen Johnson, from Bonteheuwel, walked away with the male player of the year award at Safa Cape Town’s annual awards presentation. Picture: Fuad Esack

In November, Safa Cape Town honoured its top achievers at the organisation’s annual youth and senior presentations held at Cape Town Civic Centre. Among the big winners were Goulburn FC captain, Shakeen Johnson, from Bonteheuwel, who deservedly walked away with the male player of the year award.

All-round winner, Boundary Table Tennis Club’s Zaeem Dadaker, claiming gold at various competitions, including the recent Southern Africa Hopes Challenge, in Windhoek, Namibia.

In December, Boundary Table Tennis Club’s Zaeem Dadaker, 10, along with club mate Tamika Van As, took part in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Southern Africa Hopes Challenge, in Windhoek, Namibia, last week.

The youngsters’ visit to the neighbouring country included an intensive table tennis training programme, culminating in the championship on the final day, with Zaeem crowned champion in the boys’ division.