As the World Student Games - aka Summer Universiade - kicks off in Napoli, Italy this week, a record number of University of the Western Cape athletes and administrators will be on call to represent the country.
The University has 14 athletes and four officials in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Team.
UWC Director of Sport, Mandla Gagayi, who is head of delegation, will be joined by administrators Elmien Cloete and Clement Trout, who are managing the rugby 7s women’s and men’s teams, and UWC Ladies FC head coach, Thinasonke Mbuli, who is at the helm of the women's football team.
Renaldo Leaner, Bongeka Gamede, Nolubabalo Sishuba, Khanya Xesi and Molatelo Kobo are in the football teams. The UWC rugby stars are Babalwa Latsha, Mervano da Silva, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Rohaan Adams. Athletics are represented by Rogail Joseph, Duran Faro, Ashley Smith, Rowhaldo Ratz and Anthony Timoteus.
Gagayi said the number of UWC athletes in the team demonstrates how the University’s high performance management programme has helped grow UWC sport.
“It will come as no surprise to me if one of the medals we win in Napoli comes from a UWC student-athlete,” said Gagayi. “And the number of officials (three) we have on the team further shows the University’s strong leadership ethic.”
Athletes were ecstatic about their selection, vowing to fly the UWC flag high and use the opportunity as a stepping stone for competitions.
“It has always been in my plans to make it to the World Student Games, and I hope to win a medal there, qualify for the All Africa Games later in the year and get closer to qualifying for the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo,” said Smith, who is pursuing his BA degree.
Faro, who is doing a BA in Sport Science, echoed his sentiments and said he would be using the experience and the international exposure.
The World Student Games will continue until 14 July 2019.