Rowing Claiming Top Prizes at University Sports Awards
Rowing Claiming Top Prizes at University Sports Awards
The past few weeks have seen our South African universities celebrating the achievements of their athletes, coaches and officials at their annual sports awards. As always, our varsity rowing clubs certainly showed their caliber as a strong sport with many of our clubs featuring as winners and final nominees!
Below is a short summation of the awards that our university clubs celebrated:
University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
The University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) Rowing Club was once again recognised for their exceptional work as the only university rowing club within the Kwa-Zulu Natal province. Wandile Mpisi, UKZN Rowing Club’s 2018/2019 Chairperson as well as 2019 USSA-Rowing Vice-Chairperson, was awarded a special leadership award for his exceptional work in progressing rowing and continuously pushing for the sport to grow within the university.
As well as their individual achievement, the rowing club was awarded Most Improved Club for their work in growing the club numbers, both the events and number of boats that they entered as well as their overall performances at the regattas!
University of the Western Cape
South Africa’s newest university rowing club, University of the Western Cape (UWC), were celebrated for their student run administration with their President, Tessa Preen, being awarded Student Administrator of the Year for their outstanding organisation and continued growth. This year the UWC Rowing Club managed to enter its highest number of boats to this year’s RMB Universities’ Boat Race as well as have considerably improved performances at this year’s USSA-Rowing National Sprints Regatta.
University of Pretoria
It was a year of all around success for the TUKSRowing Club with achievements for not only their athletes, but also their coach and their administrator. Charles Brittain and James Mitchell were jointly awarded Student Sportsman of the Year for their outstanding gold medal at the World U23 Rowing Championships and their involvement in TUKS’ gold medal at this year’s Boat Race.
Mpumi Geza, TUKSRowing Head Coach and 2018 USSA-Rowing Coach, was awarded Coach of the Year – Team Sport for his crews’ performances across the board this year. Mpumi led his crews to two bronze medals at the 2018 World University Rowing Championships in Shanghai, USSA-Rowing’s first medals since 2013, as well as claiming three out of four gold medals at this year’s RMB Universities’ Boat Race.
2018 USSA-Rowing Chairperson, Charles Stevens, was awarded Student Sports Administrator of the Year as recognition for his work in guiding and developing university rowing throughout the year. On top of Charles’ work representing USSA-Rowing to both USSA and RowSA, Charles was also appointed as the Team Manager for the 2018 World University Rowing Championships squad where his organisation helped the team achieve brilliant results.
Finally, TUKSRowing Club’s student culture earned them the prize of Student Sports Club of the Year, an award that not only recognised their the athletes achievements at all levels, but also their club management, culture and sport delivery to their members.
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) had a great year within university rowing and finished as not only the overall winners of the USSA-Rowing National Sprints Regatta, but also the overall winners of the 2018/2019 University Rowing Season (taking into account Sprints, Boat Race and Indoor Rowing. For their success, the UJ Rowing Club was not ignored by the University and was awarded as special Honorary Commendation for their exceptional results across the season as well as their various achievements throughout the year.
On an individual level, Mzwandile Sotsaka was a finalist for the coveted Sportsman of the Year following his impressive season. Mzee started off with a gold medal in the M2- at the RMB Buffalo Regatta before moving on to gold in the M1x and M2x at the USSA-R National Sprints Regatta and claiming bronze at the RMB South African National Championships in the same boat classes. Mzee’s results earned him a spot in the South African Student Team that took part in the World University Rowing Championships, in Shanghai China, where he claimed a bronze medal in the men’s double – a phenomenal achievement for such a young talented athlete.
2018 USSA-Rowing Vice-Chairperson, Wade Murison, was awarded Sports Administrator of the Year as recognition for his work in developing university rowing throughout the year. In addition to his position on the USSA-Rowing Executive Committee, Wade was the Sports Administrator for rowing at Nelson Mandela University and was also one of the key organisers of both the USSA-Rowing National Sprints Regatta and RMB Universities’ Boat Race.
University of Cape Town
This year’s University of Cape Town (UCT) Sports Awards saw the rowing club and its members ending up as runners up for two major awards, Coach of the Year and Team of the Year, as well as a number of their members receiving recognition awards for their Service to UCT Sport.
Lee-Ann Pearse, South African 2012 and 2016 Olympian in the W2-, was a runner up for this year’s Coach of the Year Award following her appointment as a coach at the 2018 Junior Rowing Championships as well as her development of the UCT Women’s Squad and achieving silver medals in both the A and B divisions at this year’s RMB Universities Boat Race.
The UCT Women’s Squad was a runner up for the UCT Team of the Year following among other results their gold medal in the WA8+ at the 2018 USSA Sprints Regatta, their bronze and silver medal in the WA8+ and WB8+ at the SA Senior Championships and their two silver medals at the RMB Universities Boat Race.