UP and SA athletes shine at World Student Games


The 29th World Student Games came to a conclusion on 30 August in Taipei City, Taiwan, with a number of South African athletes putting on some noteworthy performances. Team SA had male and female athletes and teams competing in nine different sporting disciplines including athletics, swimming, football, table tennis, waterpolo and badminton.

The UP athletes set the standards for their fellow participants early on in the competition, as swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker grabbed team SA’s first medal of the championship on 24 August, when she placed second in the women’s 200m Butterfly event, with a personal best time of 2:24:15, while Japan’s Kanako Watanbe claimed the gold, and Russia’s Mariia Temnikov made it onto the podium with a third place finish.


The gender pay gap in sport


In 2015, then women’s tennis number one, Serena Williams earned half as much as the men’s number one, Novak Djokovic, even though both had won three Grand Slams. In 2016 the highest paid female footballer was Alex Morgan, who earned about $2.8 million while the highest paid male footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, earned more than $88 million.

The US men’s soccer team is ranked 26th in the world while the women’s US soccer team is ranked world number one. The women’s team also generated $20m more revenue last year than the men’s team, but were still paid significantly less than the men. This discrepancy is not an outlier in football as the sport has the largest pay gap. Winner of the Women’s Super League received no winnings but when Chelsea won the Premier League title last season they received £38m. In the Champions League men’s winners, Real Madrid were awarded £13.5m and women’s winner’s, Lyon were awarded just £219,920. In the World Cup the winning men’s team receives £35m compared to the £2m the winning women’s team receive. Golf and cricket also have a large gap between men’s and women’s winnings with male winners of The Open receiving £1.17 million compared to women’s £487,500, and cricket World Cup men’s winners receiving £3.1 million compared to women’s £470,500.


Female athletes continue to break gender barriers


In a world primarily perceived through an androcentric (male centred) view point, it is women in sport who particularly face the enduring challenge of overcoming unwanted designated categories, stigmas and biased criticisms. Women are seen as less competent and fitted to participate in many sports much of the time, whereas men’s sports, ranging all disciplines and codes, are typically more widely accepted. In South Africa, particularly, it is men’s rugby and football that receive more marketing, attention and funding than women’s teams participating in the same sports.

This is largely due to the stigma that has been attached to women’s sports ever since the ‘Heraean Games’ in sixth century BCE became the first ever recorded women’s athletic competition. This is then unfortunately further perpetuated through a lack of media coverage of women’s sport, which encourages gender stereotypes and heteronormativity (the attitude that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality).


Sport Update


Varsity Football:

The fifth round of Varsity Football kicked off last week Thursday. Tuks beat a ten man Wits team 4-0 at the Tuks Stadium. Two of the four goals came from Man of the Match Odwa Mawon, with Best Shot Award winner Claudio Almeida and Frank Mpedi adding the rest. Elsewhere, CUT (Central University of Technology) beat NWU (North West University) 2-1, while UJ beat University of Fort Hare 3-0.


TuksVolleyball carry on despite hardships


2017 has so far been a highly successful year for sports clubs at UP. Among those which have experienced and accumulated success in recent times is TuksVolleyball. In 2016, the club experienced success on the Beach Volleyball scene, claiming silver in the women’s Varsity Sport Beach Volleyball Tournament, as well as presenting both male and female athletes to represent the u/23 Gauteng Beach Volleyball team. On the indoor court, however, is where players from the club experienced the most success. In the USSA (University Sports South Africa) tournament, the women’s team came second, falling just short to UWC (University of the Western Cape) in the final with a score of 33-29. At the Tshwane Volleyball indoor league, both the men’s and women’s teams claimed gold, while the women went on to win bronze at the National Club Championships.


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