Friday, April 29, 2011

Two Oceans Expo again a hit

Totalsports showcased their running products
Sportsmans Warehouse products
were a great hit with the runners
The Two Oceans Marathon Expo was, once again, a hub of activity as runners, their friends and families and other interested Capetonians flocked to the Good Hope Centre between 20-22 April to see the latest running-related goods and stock up on accessories. Especially the stands of nutritional product brands were swamped by visitors buying fuel for the race. On the enormous Jamaican-themed stand of race sponsor Puma, hopeful sprinters tried to match their time to that of Usain Bolt, competing for the R10 000 sponsorship from Puma for the fastest man and woman.  With long queues of people eager to take up the expo deals on offer, the spectre of the recession faded. Among the many well-known footwear, clothing, eyewear and accessory brands, were interesting new comers, like Newton barefoot running shoes, appropriately imported and marketed locally by none other than South Africa’s barefoot running ace, Zola Budd (Pieterse). 

Event sponsor Puma had a running track
on their Jamaican themed stand

Well-known Cape Town agent Pat Stack
with Zola Budd (right)
Matt Tibenham of Drifters and Mike Morehen of Inov8 

Rebecca Laird and Marc Smith of Texas Peak

Leo Rust, who came 3rd in the Two Oceans Trail Run
 on the 22nd of April, and Ian Little (right) of Hi-Tec
Warren Quarmby, Conny Phillips Page
and Keaton Oddy of New Balance

Gilbert RWC ball officially launched

The Gilbert Virtuo, official RWC 2011 match ball

The Gilbert Virtuo, the official match ball for the RWC 2011, was officially launched in Cape Town on April 14, with a demonstration by some of South Africa’s top kickers Braam van Straaten, Percy Montgomery and Louis Koen that with the Virtuo, “anybody” can become a kicker. After some coaching, extreme athlete Ryan Sands and radio personalities Ryan O’Connor and Mark Bayly, put the kicking theory to the test – with mixed results. A limited number of the RWC match ball-quality Virtuo balls will be on sale from next week (May 1), but Gilbert RWC ball merchandise has been on sale since December 2010.

As reported in SA Sports Trader October/November 2010, Gilbert’s international ball development engineer Ian Savage, introduced the ball to SARU, the Springboks and Wallabies, before the Tri-Nations test in Cape Town last year. This was one of the many “tests” by players (including Braam van Straaten and England flyhalf Paul Grayson) and factory machines the Virtuo underwent.

 “The Virtuo ball has been developed using new rubber compounds, as well as a unique grip surface that has a profound impact on the flight as well as the out-of- hand handling of the ball, says Eric Ichikowitz, Group Strategic and Marketing Director for Gilbert SA. “It has been developed with optimal performance at the highest level of the game in mind, to ensure that the ball contributes to an exciting and successful World Cup. The key to the manufacturing process is the relationship between the strength of backing material and the amount of energy imparted. This new ball has pleased the experts,” continues Ichikowitz.

The unique design of the World Cup ball was developed as collaboration between Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) and Maori artists. RWCL were keen to capture the meaning of the tournament, using the language of Maori art.  The result is a stylistic interpretation of the Hammerhead Shark (Mangopare), considered by Maori as the greatest of sharks because of its tenacious nature, and the Fern shoot (Koru), central to Maori symbolism with its spiral form representing the cycle of life, family and creation.

 "The ball travels perfectly through the air - it's aerodynamic and with the adaptation Gilbert has made to both the strength and the bladder makes it a pleasure to kick,” says Van Straaten. "Of course a lot depends on the climate and ultimately the pressure on the ball, but my experience shows that this is an amazing ball and it has been a pleasure to test."

For more information, visit the Gilbert website, 

Ace Kickers Percy Montgomery, Braam van Straaten and Louis Koen 
with Gilbert SA GM Du Toit Botes (far right), Bokkie and two young supporters