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South African Sport

 


The most popular sports in South Africa are soccer, rugby and cricket

in South Africa" Other sports with significant support are hockey,swimming, athletics, golf, boxing, tennis and netball. Although soccer commands the greatest following among the youth, other sports like basketball, surfing, and skateboarding are increasingly popular.

 


Sports in South Africa have a passionate following, although they remain largely divided along ethnic lines.Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in South Africa, particularly amongst blacks who constitute the majority of the population. The national football team is nicknamed Bafana Bafana (meaning the boys, the boys). South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the first one hosted in Africa.Cricket is the second most popular sport in South Africa, and is traditionally the sport of the Anglo-African and Indian South African communities, although it is now followed by members of all races. The national cricket team is nicknamed The Proteas.

 

Rugby union is also very popular, especially among persons of Afrikaner descent. The national rugby union team, The Springboks, have enjoyed considerable success since the early 20th Century, including two Rugby World Cup victories in 1995 & 2007.Other popular sports include: boxing, hockey, tennis, golf, surfing, netball and running.South Africa was absent from international sport for most of the apartheid era due to sanctions, but started competing globally after the country's white electorate voted in a referendum in favour of a negotiated settlement of the apartheid question.

The South African government and SASCOC have been striving to improve – incrementally – the participation of the previously excluded majority in competitive sports (i.e. Blacks in rugby and Whites in association football), but so far with limited success, due to resistance on part of numerous federations.

 

South Africa was banned from the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo due to the apartheid policies.  This ban effectively lasted until 1992. During this time, some sports people (like Zola Budd and Kepler Wessels) left for other countries in order to compete internationally. Some athletes continued their sports careers in South Africa in isolation, with some stars like women's 400 metres runner Myrtle Bothma running a world record time at the South African championships.

Some sports teams toured South Africa as "Rebel Tours" and played the Springbok rugby and Proteas cricket teams in South Africa during the isolation period.
In 1977, Commonwealth Presidents and Prime Ministers agreed, as part of their support for the international campaign against apartheid, to discourage contact and competition between their sportsmen and sporting organisations, teams or individuals from South Africa.

 

South Africa has an active athletics schedule and has produced a number of athletes who compete internationally and qualify for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, South Korea, the relay team of Shane Victor, Ofentse Mogawane, Willem de Beer and Oscar Pistorius set a national record time of 2:59.21 seconds in the heats. South Africa went on to win a silver medal in the finals with the team of Victor, Mogawane, de Beer and Louis Jacob van Zyl.In 2012 Caster Semenya won a silver medal in the women's 800m of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, with a time of 1:57.23 seconds. Also in 2012, Oscar Pistorius became the first double amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympic Games, but did not win a medal.

Pistorius won a gold medal and a bronze medal in the T44 class at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, and three gold medals at the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games in Beijing. He also won two gold medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games and remained the T43 world record holder for the 200 and 400 metres events. The South African team of Pistorius, Arnu Fourie, Zivan Smith and Samkelo Radebe won a gold medal and set a Paralympic record in the 4x100m relay with a time of 41.78 seconds. Fourie also set a world record in the heats of the T44 200m event and won a bronze medal in the 100m event.

 

Australian rules football is a popular sport in South Africa. Since 1996 the sport has been growing quickly and especially amongst the indigenous communities. South Africa's has a national team the South African national Australian rules football team. The team made history in 2007 by competing against Australia's best Under 17 players, as well as defeating a touring Australian amateur senior team for the first time.

There is an annual national championships which was first held in 2008. The South African national team also competes in the Australian Football International Cup which is essentially a World Cup for all countries apart from Australia which is the only place where the sport is played professionally. The South African national team highest finish at the International Cup is 3rd which was in 2008.

 

Cricket is the second most popular sport in South Africa. It is popular among English-speaking whites. It is the only sport in South Africa to feature in the top two sports of all race groups. The national team is known as the Proteas.South Africa is one of the leading cricket-playing nations in the world and one of ten countries that is sanctioned to play test cricket. Cricket was traditionally popular among English-speaking whites and the Asian community, though the latter were not able to compete in top-level South African cricket in the apartheid era. Since the end of the apartheid era, a higher proportion of white players have come from Afrikaans-speaking backgrounds, and attempts have been made to increase the number of non-white players, in part through a quota system.

The current national team features prominent non-white players, such as Ashwell Prince, Hashim Amla (the first Muslim to play for South Africa), Herschelle Gibbs, Monde Zondeki, Loots Bosman, Charl Langeveldt, and Makhaya Ntini. Afrikaners in the team include AB de Villiers, Albie Morkel, Morné Morkel, Johan Botha and Dale Steyn

 

The team has had success with batsmen like Herschelle Gibbs, who is one of the sport's most dominating batsmen, all-rounders like Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock, the former being one of the greatest all rounders of the game, and bowlers such as Makhaya Ntini, who reached number two in the ICC Player Rankings in 2006. Dale Steyn is currently ranked as one of the best test bowlers, and captain Graeme Smith is one of the most dominant left-handed batsmen in world cricket today. Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has the world record for the most number of dismissals for a wicketkeeper and continues playing for the team. Kevin Pietersen, who is white, left the country claiming that he was put at a disadvantage by positive discrimination, and within a few years became one of the world's top batsmen, playing for England.

South Africa is one of the strongest teams and in 2006, in Johannesburg in what was the highest scoring 50 over ODI ever, South Africa led by Gibbs' 175 chased down Australia's mammoth and then world record score of 434–4. South Africa hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup an event that was disappointing to them as they lost against Sri Lanka in what happened to be in a farcical situation and were eliminated on home soil. In the 2007 Cricket World Cup, South Africa reached the semi-finals of the event but lost to Australia.

 


Rugby league is a popular sport in South Africa. It has a long history, and consisting of no less than three and possibly four different administrative boards, committee or interests over 40 odd years that attempted to establish the game of rugby league in South Africa. None of the earlier attempts were very successful.The first attempted expansion of the code into South Africa was primarily put together by the English and encouraged by the French for the purpose of expanding the game into new nations that would inevitably bring more tests to the English and French shores, ensuring a lucrative future. At least, that was the plan however, it was not to be; the South African public did not take to the sport and the expansion plans were stopped prematurely, causing the cancellation of a third scheduled match in London.

The second attempted expansion was a strange double act in the 1960s consisting of two separate factions, known as the National Rugby League and South African Rugby League. Each fought for their own survival until the RLIF laid down the law that saw the NRL effectively shut down and its clubs moved to the SARL. All was looking good for SARL until a South African representative team toured Australia and were embarrassingly beaten, enough to discourage South African fans from supporting their national team and thus it never caught on.The 1990s brought forth a more committed band of entrepreneurs. The foundation left by the 1990s administration still lives on today, albeit a former shadow of itself.The rugby league competition in South Africa is the Tom van Vollenhoven Cup.

 

Rugby union is a popular sport in South Africa, especially amongst Afrikaners. The national team is known as the Springboks. South Africa hosted and won the 1995 Rugby World Cup, in what was their first appearance. The defeat of the All Blacks in the final is remembered as one of the most famous South African sporting moments. The domestic league  the Currie Cup is also played annually, as well as the international Super Rugby.After being tainted by associations with apartheid, the Springboks (or 'Boks') have sought to become part of the 'New South Africa', with President Nelson Mandela wearing the Springbok jersey, once only worn by whites, at the final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.South Africa won the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

 


Rugby league is a team sport played in South Africa. There has been three dynasties of rugby league in South Africa that attempted to establish a thriving rugby league. Not all attempts were in the interest of South Africans; rather an interest in financial windfall. Others took to the townships and promoted the league at the grass roots, which saw some of the most successful periods of rugby league in South Africa. The game has changed over 50 years of involvement in South Africa and today is played by a small number of teams in the Tom van Vollenhoven Cup which is administered by the South African Rugby League.

 

Rugby league in South Africa has a long and turbulent history, consisting of no less than three administrations over 40 years that attempted to establish the game of rugby league in South Africa. Neither, certainly the earlier attempts were very successful.The first attempted expansion of the code into South Africa was primarily put together by the English and encouraged by the French for the purpose of expanding the game into new nations, that would inevitably bring more tests to the English and French shores, ensuring a lucrative future. At least, that was the plan; however it was not to be, the South African public did not take to the sport and the expansion plans were stopped prematurely causing a 3rd scheduled match in London to not be played.

The second attempted expansion was a strange double act in the 1960s consisting of two separate factions, known as the National Rugby League and South African Rugby League. Each fought for their own survival until the RLIF laid down the law that saw the NRL effectively shut down and its clubs moved to the SARL. All was looking good for SARL until a South African representative team toured Australia and were embarrassingly beaten.In 1991 the South African Rugby Football League was established to promote amateur rugby league.1998's World Club Challenge between the British and Australian champions was mooted as a showpiece fixture at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

However this didn't eventuate.In 2009 there are currently three South Africans playing in Australia, Jarrod Saffy who plays for the St. George Illawarra Dragons, Allan Heldsinger who plays for the Redcliffe Dolphins and Daine Laurie who plays with the Wests Tigers. In 2010 the Sydney Roosters have signed South African rugby union junior JP Du Plessis. The NRL plan to sign more South Africans in the future.So far the Sydney Roosters have signed four South African rugby union players and Peter O'Sullivan stated he will bring them all on a bus back to Bondi the Melbourne Storm have also recruited players from the country.In 2011 a host of changes were implemented by the remaining clubs, the first of which was to elect a representative board and establish a Commercial Entity to take the sport forward.



The result is a new National Club Championship as well as several international tours next year.
The South African Senior Side also played in the Rugby League World Cup Qualifier in 2011 and will hope to build in 2012 towards a strong showing in the 2012 and 2013 international seasons.The South African Students will be competing in the Rugby League Students World Cup in July 2013 in England.

 
 




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