Looking back at the year in sport

Toufeeq Baatjies aka B-boy Toufeeq on his way to winning the Red Bull BC One SA finals, at GrandWest, earlier this year. The top 20 breakers from around the country went toe-to-toe for a chance to represent South Africa at the world final, but in the end, it was Baatjies and Lakeisha Dick, aka B-girl Keisha, who lifted the trophies. Picture: Mpumelelo Macu/Red Bull Content Pool

The minstrel troupes parading through the streets of Cape Town during the “Tweede Nuwe Jaar” festivities set the tone for a memorable year on the sporting front, as this was followed by the opening round of the 2023 minstrel competition season, at Athlone Stadium.

Fish Hoek Athletic Club members were among the city’s runners who took on the Bay to Bay race in February, conquering the 30km route starting and ending in Camps Bay.

Breakdancers Toufeeq Baatjies, 27, from Mitchell’s Plain, and Lakeisha Dick, 16, from Ocean View, were crowned champions in their respective divisions at the Red Bull BC One national breakdance finals, at GrandWest, at the end of April. The two represented South Africa at the Red Bull BC One world finals at the Stade Roland-Garros, in Paris, in October.

Also in April, the announcement was made that the Bayhill under-19 Premier Cup finals would grace Athlone Stadium, marking the 34th anniversary of this Easter soccer spectacle.

In May, A classy performance by Fish Hoek’s Ubuntu Football Academy’s under-12 side and two superb goals by Mu’ammar Watson saw them lift the trophy in their division at the Super 7s junior tournament in Salt River.

Accomplished American rower, Arshay Cooper, along with one of the USA’s most seasoned rowing coaches, Kevin Harris, named two rowing boats: Tata a Coastal quad and Lawhill a Coastal double – at a ceremony held in Simon’s Town in May. These boats are used to train the high school maritime rowing students who attend the Lawhill Maritime Centre at Simon’s Town School.

In June, Reuben Jansen van Rensburg, 20, from Kommetjie, walked away with a bronze medal from Arnold Classic Africa held at the Ruimsig Athletics Stadium, in Roodepoort, Johannesburg.

As part of the False Bay Echo’s 70th anniversary, we featured the story of Masiphumelele RFC in our special monthly souvenir pull-out edition in June. Formed in 2004, the club grew from the merging of three rugby clubs in the Masipumelele township in Noordhoek. The merging of these three, All Blacks, Evergreen and Homeboys, with the majority of their players hailing from a cradle of South African rugby, the Eastern Cape, made perfect sense.

Meanwhile, breakdancer BGirl Keisha this time danced her way to victory in the Breaking for Gold competition, aiming to secure a spot for South Africa at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

Skateboarding sensation Jean-marc Johannes continued his impressive streak in July, securing a podium place at the FISE World series in Montpellier, France. His achievements set the stage for a potential spot on the South African Olympic squad for the Paris Games.

In a groundbreaking moment for e-sports, a video gaming team from Cape Town became the Red Bull Hattrick South African champions in July, showcasing the growing popularity of competitive gaming in the country.

August witnessed Nuha Shah’s historic podium finish at the IMMAF Youth Competition, adding a bronze medal to her already impressive record. She returned home ranked third in the world in the Youth Girls’ B under-48kg category, showcasing the global prowess of South African youth in mixed martial arts.

In September, Constantia’s False Bay Rugby Club bowed out of the Gold Cup quarter-finals to eventual winners, Naka Bulls Rugby Club, in Constantia.

In a heart-stopping penalty shootout against Stellenbosch, Ubuntu FC’s Xavier Jodanus, a 17-year-old midfielder from Steenberg, may not have secured the win with a 5-3 defeat, but he emerged victorious nonetheless for the Echo based team. Despite the team’s narrow loss, the Grade 11 pupil at the Ubuntu Academy was crowned Player of the Tournament in the 21st edition of the Engen Knockout Challenge, concluding at the Rooikrans sports complex in Grassy Park in September.

Surfer Kai Stubbs, from Kommetjie, made waves in October as one of the standout performers in the Rip Curl GromSearch 2023 surfing series, hinting at a promising future in the under-16 division.

The World Rallycross series saw a spectacular showdown at Killarney in October, with German Timo Scheider ending Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson’s winning streak in a sensational performance, setting the stage for an exciting season finale in Hong Kong.

In November, the highly anticipated top primary schools soccer tournament, hosted by the Metro South Education District (MSED), came to a grand conclusion at the Nyanga sports complex. Schools in the under-10, under-12 and under-14 sections were represented from four zones; the Deep South (Ocean View, Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek); Mitchell’s Plain; Lagunya Graft (Langa, Gugulethu, Philippi) and Grassy Park. Sun Valley Primary, Zanomhle Primary School and Montagu’s Gift Primary School’s were crowned the under-10, under-12 and under-14 champions, respectively.

St George’s Rugby Club emerged as the triumphant victors, claiming the esteemed title of Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) Super League A (SLA) club rugby sevens champions. In a fiercely contested battle at the Kraaifontein sports field, St George’s sealed their glory with a 26-20 triumph over Helderberg Rugby Club. Locals, False Bay Rugby Club showcased their prowess by clinching the plate section with a decisive 24-7 victory over arch-rivals, Hamilton Rugby Club.

South African men’s ice hockey earned a spot in the IIHF qualification programme for the 2026 Milano Cortina Olympic Games Round 2, Group K. The journey, marked by hosting international championships in various ice hockey divisions this year, culminates with the SA senior national team participating in the ice hockey Olympic qualification programme — a historic first for Africa.

As we bid adieu to the sports marvels of 2023, why not embrace the thrill of Pickleball this summer? DinkPickleballZA invites you to Plumstead Tennis Club, 24 Victoria Road, for social Pickleball every Tuesday, from, 5pm to 8pm, and Saturday, 2pm to 5pm, in December and January. This racquet sport, a blend of tennis and table tennis, promises fun for all. Email dinkpickleballza@gmail.com

South Africa’s touch rugby national team player and False Bay’s scrumhalf, Mujaahid Noordien points on before winning a penalty for his team. Hamlet’s prop failed to bind during a scrum. Picture: Lonwabo Marele
Ocean View’s Nazeer Hendriks, 10, hits a six during his turn in front of the wickets at the Sporting Chance Calypso Cricket Festival at Sunrise Beach. Picture: Brenton Geach