Four universities, 23 sports, one champion. It’s time for 2018 Sporting Inter-Varsity, which takes place this weekend, 28 and 29 September, at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
More than 850 students from UCT, the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Stellenbosch University and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) will fight for the winner’s title at the event, which traces its roots way back to 1911.
It all started when South African College (SAC, later UCT) played Victoria College, which became Stellenbosch University, in a game of rugby, which SAC won 9–0. The intense rivalry between the two universities has seen the derby contested annually ever since, except when it was halted by political tension in 1943 and 1944, and in 1975.
Two years ago, UWC pioneered and hosted the first Western Cape Inter-Varsity tournament, which included CPUT, UCT and Stellenbosch (Maties), with students competing in 11 sports over two days.
This weekend, students will compete in 23 different sports, said UCT sports coordinator Kerr Rogers.
The event kicks off with a Mental Health in Sport seminar, with guest speakers from all four universities in discussion with sporting colleagues. First up on the sports programme tomorrow evening (28 September) is a swimming gala at the Maties pool from 18:00. Swimmers are from UCT, UWC and Stellenbosch University.
On Saturday, 29 September, the action moves to UCT, kicking off early with rugby and mountain-biking events on campus. The surfers will also be up early, hoping for great waves at Milnerton that will allow them to compete.
Teams will compete throughout the day in sports including cricket, football, basketball, water polo, rowing, table tennis, badminton, fencing, tennis, netball, rugby sevens and beach volleyball.
Canoeing and yachting events are scheduled for 10:00 on Saturday at the UCT Yacht Club at Zeekoevlei.
The action ends with the final rugby match between UCT and Stellenbosch on the main field on upper campus at 16:00.
“The Inter-Varsity clash has come a long way since it was cancelled in 1975 after Stellenbosch University, along with the Nationalist government and then Sports Minister, refused permission for anyone other than white UCT students and academics to compete.”
After the final, students and staff are invited to gather at the UCT Rugby Club for the trophy handover, according to Rogers, who added that everyone was invited to attend the activities. Refreshments will be on sale at the various clubhouses across the campus throughout the event.
He said the Inter-Varsity clash has come a long way since it was cancelled in 1975 after Stellenbosch University, along with the Nationalist government and then Sports Minister, refused permission for anyone other than white UCT students and academics to compete.
UCT’s Council, principal, students and sports people refused to participate unless everyone was treated equally, and in the face of tremendous odds and opposition, they finally succeeded.
“From 1979 to 1993, hockey, tennis, table tennis, boxing, wrestling and netball teams all participated over the same weekend as the inter-varsity rugby match, but busy league schedules and crowd control issues eventually forced the cancellation of the combined event. Sporting codes then organised separate matches amongst themselves, or played one another in the Western Province league fixtures,” Rogers explained.
The event was relaunched in 2012 when UCT hosted 14 sports and an overall inter-varsity winner was announced. By 2013, the number of sports involved had grown to 22, then to 26 by 2015.
UCT held the winning trophy from 2010 to 2013, Stellenbosch took it for 2014, with UCT winning it back the following year. UWC came out tops in the first Western Cape Inter-Varsity event in 2016, with UCT again taking back the trophy last year.
“It’s a fantastic, not-to-be-missed event where spectators can expect some great sporting clashes in what is a very hotly-contested event,” said Rogers.
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