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By Skyler Hendricks 

Stellenbosch University (SU) has announced a new official sport and sport club; tug-of-war.  This amateur university sport club will aim to promote tug of war as a national sport by actively taking part in the South African tug-of-war district, provincial and national competitions. 

All SU tug-of-war participants will be registered to the South African Tug-of-War Federation (SATF). Applications to join Maties tug-of-war are officially open for 2021, with the first official practices commencing on 29 March. 

SU students had expressed an interest in the sport and this inspired the university to make tug-of-war and official Maties sport.  “Being a Matie myself, I know that wanting to do tug-of-war while studying [is] a big obstacle, seeing as there is only one club near Stellenbosch which complicates practice times. Opening up a club at Maties gives students the opportunity to participate at a club at home base,” says Corné de Villiers, secretary of Maties Tug-of-War.

 Covid-19 had a massive impact on the process of officiating this club, however, after a long fight to get Maties Tug-of-War established, the management team has announced that the sport will commence for the year 2021. 

Tug-of-war at SU is open to any registered, active student. A perk of joining this sports club is a substantial discount at the Maties gym, the only requirement for this discount is attending practices which will take place every Tuesday and Thursday at 17:30 until 18:30. The practices will take place behind the Coetzenburg hockey fields. 

“The sports club will go about recruiting members by hosting recruitment drives at the Stellenbosch University open days as well as connecting with university residences by hosting tug-of-war days,” says Hugo Coetzee, the clubs chairperson.

Students who are interested in joining Maties Tug-of-War, but have not competed on a national level, will unfortunately not be able to take part in the South African Tug-of-War Championships. There is, however, a ‘President Section’ at the same competition that these team members will be permitted to compete in. “Our goal is to get other universities to start tug-of-war and then start an inter-university competition such as Varsity Cup,” says Petrie Frick, head coach of Maties Tug-of-War. 

In order to be officially registered with SATF participants must pay a membership fee ranging between R350 and R500. Being registered with SATF will enable team members to participate in the scheduled competitions. Apart from the scheduled competitions, there will also be an inter-residential tug-of-war league – this will allow talent, in their respective weight categories, to be scouted and considered for the national team. 

For more information about Maties Tug-of-War, one can visit their Instagram page @maties_tug_of_war. Alternatively, De Villiers, the secretary of Maties Tug-of-War, can be contacted via email or via WhatsApp 083 610 1698. 

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