By Tshilidzi Mutavhatsindi
Rhodes University offers a vast variety of sports, activities and active sports clubs to choose from. Some of Rhodes’ more popular sports include soccer, cricket, rowing, rugby, surfing and squash. Participation in sports opens doors for several opportunities, including the attainment of bursaries, the establishment of life-long friendships and, above all, a well-rounded university experience.
There are 30 clubs on offer, covering a wide variety of interest areas where students can take part on a social or competitive level. Rhodes has a number of competitive clubs known for their outstanding achievements, such as the Rowing, Archery and Athletic clubs. Rhodes boasts the best university Rowing Club in the country, dominating both tertiary and national rowing events.
Rhodes Archery Club is also one of the best and more competitive clubs, catering for both beginners and advanced archers. The Archery Club set a South African record last year at the 57th SANAA (South African National Archery Association) nationals tournament, which took place in Durban. Rhodes’ youngest archer, Rhyss Nell (U/14 Compound) shot his way to a gold medal in the first stages, breaking a record in his age division in the process. Geraldine Simak (Ladies Standard Bow) also won a gold medal in the initial stage and took away silver in the eliminations. Gerhard Bosman also walked away with a gold medal after the first day and silver in the eliminations. The Archery Club ended 2008 on a high note by hosting one of the world’s best archers, Calvin Hartley, at their AGM where Hartley was also made an honorary member of the Rhodes Archery Club.
Other competitive Rhodes clubs include athletics, soccer, rugby and basketball, which compete locally and nationally.
There are also numerous annual sports competitions which students can engage in individually or as part of a team. The Allan Webb Challenge is one of the most exciting events boasting team games such as paintball and tug-of-war. Another exciting campus sports activity is the five-discipline Founders Challenge, which includes swimming, canoeing, cycling, an orienteering race and running. The MTN Campus Challenge is also one of the more popular campus competitions and requires team work, skills and perseverance.
For avid spectators, the three main events include Tri-Varsity, which is an all-round competition between Rhodes, Nelson Mandela Metropole Univeristy and Fort Hare. This year Rhodes will host the competition. Boatrace is another great experience and is held in Port Alfred during the short September vacation. It is a great event for rowers and spectators alike and the Rhodes Rowing Club usually dominates this event. The Fish River Canoe Marathon is a race down the Great Fish River and Rhodes canoeists generally do well in this event, giving Rhodents another chance to don overalls in support of them.