There are a few events every South African sports fan wants to attend in their lifetime. The sequence may vary but the top 5 must include the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and Commonwealth Games. South Africa has already hosted 2 of these 4 and this could be the chance to see the third, live in our own backyard. Who can forget the opening goal at the World Cup by Siphiwe Tshabalala? Do I even need to mention Joel Stransky’s winning drop goal in 1995?
Durban are bidding to be the host city for the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and we were invited to attend a media day at the Prime Human Performance Institute to get a brief behind the scenes insight into what top athletes go through in preparation to participate in their respective events every day.
The media day showcased the high-tech facilities at the Prime HPI centre inside the Moses Mabhida Stadium. A facility used by top athletes and professional sports players like Amazulu and the Sharks rugby team. The media day showcased the level of effort and the ability the pros have in their disciplines compared to regular Joe’s. What they do on an average day to keep improving would blow your mind.
Attendees were quickly split up into teams of a generous mix of pro’s from different disciplines and media members. My team was called Gold Coast in honour of the next hosts, Gold Coast City – Australia. The other teams were Dehli, Durban and Glasgow.
The athletes all brought such enthusiasm to these challenges. Things which to them may seem mundane but were quite intimidating for us mere mortals. No competitive exercise should be tackled cold so we warmed up properly under the watchful eyes of the Prime HPI coaches before engaging in the different events.
We had so much fun mingling with the pro athletes, chatting about their specific disciplines and just general banter. All the things that bring people together around sport. I got to meet a rugby hero of mine in Brent Russell and chatted with Amazulu’s Marc van Heerden about the very latest Puma evoSpeed SL as if we had been teammates for years.
Back to the competition. Team Dehli had the upper hand pretty much from start to finish but were chased hard by Gold Coast and Glasgow. The mystery event was an endurance test in the ice bath. Stay in the longest to get the most points. Simple you might think but the lead Team Dehli had achieved proved to be sufficient to edge both Gold Coast and Glasgow by 4.
If Durban win the bid to host there will be challenges no doubt. Studies suggest the games could generate up to R 20 billion in income for the country but most importantly, it will be an opportunity for us to showcase South Africa and for our athletes to compete on home turf. I hope we realise Durban 2022 because I want to attend.
I am inspired.