Wheelchair tennis stars embark on major tour


Tuks wheelchair tennis superstars, Lucas Sithole and Khothatso Montjane, are currently on a North American tour where they are set to take part in three major international events in the US and Canada this month.

The pair, who recently won the prestigious Sportswomen and Sportsman of the Year in the disabled category at the inaugural SA Sports Awards inSun City, are competeing for the first time in so-called “high grade” international events on the International Wheelchair Tennis Circuit. With both Montjane and Sithole ranked number one inSouth Africa, the goal is for both of them to break into the top ten in the world rankings.

The players started their tour with a “super series” event at the US Open known as the UTSA Wheelchair Tennis Championships. After that event they are scheduled to jet off toCanadato compete in the Canada International Championships inMontrealbefore returning to theUSfor the final event of the tour, the PTR Championship in Hilton Head.

This tour offers both players the opportunity to test themselves against some of the best players in the world and to prove their ability to compete on the world stage. It is also a chance to gain, not only invaluable experience, but also to earn points which could improve their International Tennis Federation (ITF) rankings and to ensure that they qualify for next year’s Paralympics inLondon.

Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) Director Holger Losch stressed that the main objective of the tour is for both players to learn and gain experience which will stand them in good stead for future tournaments, although he does expect them to contend for the title in the last events of the tour. “The first event is not about them taking the title, but more about gaining experience, implementing their game plans and building the belief that they belong there. It is in the second and third week, both Grade II Events, where we expect both Montjane and Sithole to really shine as they vie for a title,” Losch said.

Montjane said, “I am looking forward to the tournaments and hope to perform well enough to reach the top 10 rankings in the world.” Sithole, who is ranked 15 in the world and is renowned for his athleticism and speed on the court, said, “I’m hoping to get to the finals of either the Tennis Canada International Championship or the PTR Open, which will position me well on my journey to the Paralympics next year. I know I can do it. All I need is to focus on my game and not worry about my opponent’s strategy.”

Montjane, who is ranked number one in the South African women’s division, said, “I am looking forward to the tournaments and hope to perform well enough to reach the top 10 rankings in the world.” 

Regardless of how the pair perform on their tour, wheelchair tennis inSouth Africais certainly a sport which is rapidly developing. As one of the fastest growing disabled sports around the globe,South Africaboasts over 80 wheelchair tennis players who hold significant positions on the ITF world rankings. This is more than any other nation. The success of Montjane and Sithole is indicative of their immense talents, as well as of WTSA as a whole.

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Tuks gymnast sets new Africa record


It’s not every day that you hear of someone setting new sporting records on the international stage, but that’s exactly what Tuks gymnast Lucky Radebe did. Radebe, a second-year sports science student, set a new Africa record in the Double Mini-Trampoline discipline at the Canada Cup from 28 to 31 July earlier this year. Radebe was one of two senior gymnasts who were invited to the Canada Cup after impressing judges at the Jannie Jansen International held at Tuks earlier this year. Radebe certainly justified his invitation by setting the Africa record and achieving an overall fourth place finish in this category. He also finished 12th  in a field of 24 participants in the Euro Trampoline discipline. Perdeby  spoke to Radebe about his unprecedented achievements and this is what he had to say.

How long have you been doing gymnastics? I’ve been doing gymnastics for 11 years now and have been a part of the Tuks gymnastics team since 2005. I was very flexible at an early age so my friends and I started gymnastics when I was just five years old.

How did you feel when you set a new Africa record? I was very happy, but I wasn’t focused on setting the new record. My competitors were attempting different things and I decided to do the same. Although I messed up, I still managed to finish fourth. I was very happy with the result, although I feel I could have done better.

What were your thoughts when you finished 12th in the Euro Trampoline discipline? I was very pleased with the results but I could have done better than that. I was aiming for eight-position and in doing so would have secured my place in the finals. The competition I faced was very stiff because I was competing against each country’s best athlete. One of these was the Canadian Olympic medalist Jason Burnett.

What did it feel like competing against the best in the world at the Canada Cup? It was interesting and exciting, but not all that intimidating. The only competitor that intimidated me was Jason Burnett. He is just on another level and has a completely unique style of jumping.

Do you have your eye on the Olympic Games? Yes. I also have my eye on the World Games, but my first priority is the Olympics. I’m going to give it my all this year and I’m going to put in the most unbelievable performances.

Who is your motivation in the sport? Family, friends and God: they all give me the determination to keep on pushing forward.

What makes your sport different from others? Trampoline is totally different from other sports because you need many things to do it. You need to be strong, flexible and well-balanced. Trampoline is also one of the toughest sports in the world and it is very dangerous. You can easily injure yourself if you’re not sure of what you’re doing.

Talking to the big guns


Colin Slade from the All Blacks

Where were you when you found out you made the All Black squad? I watched the All Black announcement on TV with my family.

You broke your jaw early on in the Super Rugby season. What was the recovery process like? I actually broke my jaw twice, both times needing operations, eating liquids (smoothies), purées and soft food for the first four weeks.

When did you first start playing rugby and did you have a role model? Started rugby at nine because I used to love watching Andrew Mehrtens.

Do you have any qualifications outside of rugby? I have a BA in history and media communications.

What do you do in your free time? In my spare time I play golf and guitar or, if I get enough time, travel.

What would you be doing if you weren’t playing rugby? If I didn’t play rugby, I would try to be a pro cricketer or own my own business.

You’re on a deserted island. Name three things you will take with you. Radio, knife and a hammock.

Sexiest woman alive? Toss up between Jessica Alba or Kate Beckinsale.

Tell us something about yourself that no one knows. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books … twice.

Beau Robinson from the Wallabies

  When did you start playing professionally? I had a year with the Bulldogs Rugby League under-20 team before joining the Waratahs academy and signing a 3 year deal with them. I was not re-signed and spent a year working before joining the Reds.

Best moment in rugby to date. Two things that came about within a week: winning a Super title and making my Wallabies debut.

Goals for the future? To play further games for the Wallabies and hopefully win more SuperRugby titles.

When did you first start playing rugby and did you have a role model? 15. Not really, I just enjoyed watching the Wallabies when they were very successful.

Do you have any qualifications outside of rugby? I am currently studying a sports business degree.

What do you want to do after your rugby career is over? Something in the sports business industry. As to what that might be I’m unsure as yet.

When travelling, who is the best player to share a room with and why? Whoever keeps quiet and doesn’t go telling everyone about what I’m doing.

Tell us something about yourself that no one knows. I love watching cartoons and chick flicks.

Sexiest woman alive? Elle McPherson. I know she may be getting a little old now, but if any lady can look as good as her at that age then they deserve to be named the sexiest woman alive.

For the full interviews and many more visit


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