Friday, September 25, 2015

Industry rallies to support Masi

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Many companies in the sport and outdoor retail industry already invest substantially in CSI projects, but when we heard the inspiring story of the work being done by coach Nceba Jonas and the Masicorp Trust in the impoverished Masiphumelele community (a township between Kommetjie and Fish Hoek near Cape Town) we took the liberty of asking retailers and suppliers to help assist them with much-needed tracksuits.
Coach Nceba Jonas flanked by Carol Hanks and Fran Loudon of the Masicorp Trust.
We were very grateful and impressed by the many, many offers of assistance we received – especially from Kappa SA, Asics SA and retailer American Clothing, who were first off the mark to generously offer free donations of tracksuits for two community netball teams and their coaches.

These will be worn this weekend during the major community sports tournament coach Nceba and his committee organised in Masiphumelele, where four Orlando Pirates players will inspire the township’s youths to dream about a sporting life that will take them far beyond the poverty they grew up in.
Carol Hanks from the Masicorp Trust receives the coaches’ hoodies and pants from Wesley Tam of Asics SA.
Springbok suppliers Asics SA did not hesitate to respond to our request: “We will certainly see how we can assist and support,” said marketing manager Sarah Mundy. “We do already support other causes, however, given the nature of your request, we will see how we can assist.”  While they did not have complete tracksuits available, Wesley Tam, Core Performance Sports Marketing Executive, supplied hooded tops and tracksuit pants for the coaches.
Ricky Joseph and David Abramsohn of Kappa SA with one of the tracksuits they donated.
“As a brand, Kappa SA believes in helping to grow the community of South Africa,” says Ricky Joseph, who donated 14 tracksuits for the netball team. “A project such as this is something that we feel extremely touched by. While kids may have the most amazing skills and attributes, sometimes to look and feel good is as important. We believe that by donating these tracksuits to these athletes we will give them an added ability on and off the field. We want to uplift as many disadvantaged communities as possible and enable even those unfortunate in our country to be able to look and feel the best while competing.”
Retailer Kamlesh Chagan of American Clothing hands over the Kappa tracksuits he donated to coach Nceba Jonas.
Kamlesh Chagan, owner of the American Clothing stores in Cape Town, believes in supporting the Southern Peninsula communities that have been supporting his family’s business for the past 50 years, after his father opened their first store in Retreat. “I believe in giving back to organisations that support the communities in the areas where I grew up, who provided our family with an income,” he says.

They receive requests for donations on almost a daily basis and he has become wary of everybody knocking on their doors. But, he does support organisations that are empowering young adults surrounded by influences like drugs, etc. to rather follow a path powered by sport or education, says Chagan. He therefore gladly bought matching tracksuits from Kappa at a special price to donate to another Masiphumelele netball team.
Several wall posters made by pupils, parents and teachers reflect the solid grounding the Ukhanyo Primary School in Masiphumelele offers its pupils.
After considering several initiatives, Sports Trader decided to support the Masicorp Trust, which has been providing educational and community-based support to the Masiphumelele township since 1999, where more than 38 000 people live disadvantaged and poor (see What appealed to us is the fact that the Masicorp Trust focuses on education as the way out of poverty, instead of hand-outs.

At the Ukhanyo Primary School (1 650 pupils) in Masiphumelele they help provide teacher, coach and learner training, facilities like maths, science and language labs, and equipment to promote education as a way to a better future.  This offers the young people an alternative to gangsterism and drugs.
These posters reflect the pride everybody takes in the Ukhanoyo Primary school, supported by the Masicorp Trust.
But, most of all, we were inspired by the enthusiastic sports organiser who, we believe, deserves as much support as possible – and therefore we called on members of the industry. The Masicorp Trust pays the salary of community member coach Nceba Jonas, who chairs the community sports programme and also:
  • with the help of volunteers and in partnership with the NGO Goodsport (who train sport coaches and educators), runs the Physical Education Programme at Ukhanyo Primary School, offering each child at least two periods of PE per week;
  • In the afternoons he also coaches the primary school teams in soccer, rugby, cricket and netball.  They have been doing exceptionally well and often win their matches against ‘sporting schools’ in this league and the principal’s office is filled with trophies won by the sports teams. Their netball team is the current holders of the Southern Peninsula League Championship.
  • The two primary school netball teams recently swept the board at a Muizenberg Tournament and at another netball tournament, Ukhanyo was victorious against Red Hill and Ocean View teams.
  • Late afternoons, coach Nceba coaches community netball (who require the tracksuits) and soccer teams. And if that is not enough, he also runs aerobics classes in the community hall in the evenings.

The Masiphumelele community is very poor and parents struggle to afford sports kit - the primary school teams have therefore been competing in generic white T-shirts and shorts against well-equipped opponents wearing proper kits.

Coach Nceba has a dream that all his teams will one day be able to meet their opponents kitted out in proper school team kit, which would give his young learners the confidence to meet other schools on equal footing.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

CT Marathon Expo offered runners plenty

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In the run-up to the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, which took place this past weekend, technical sponsor ASICS SA had a large informative stand at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Expo on 18 and 19 September at The Lookout in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.
Runners collecting their race packs at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Expo. 
The brand’s demarcated area featured a selection of shoe types from their range and a number of representatives were available on the floor to answer any questions visitors had for them.
ASICS’  Dawid Visser and their reps showing support for the’Boks in their green and gold.

In another section of the stand, there was a magnetic apparel wall that demonstrated their clothing range along with information indicating the technologies used in the manufacturing process of the particular garments.
ASICS’  magnetic wall displayed their apparel and the technologies they feature.
The ASICS Foot ID scans were available for runners to assess their foot shape, gait and running style, which helped them select the optimum shoe for them.
ASICS had a special area where visitors could use their Foot ID scan.
The Motivational Wall on ASICS’s stand provided an area for visitors to write messages of encouragement, for other runners or themselves. Visitors were also encouraged to use the #ASICSGoRunIT handle on social media and post motivational messages there.
Runners leaving messages on ASICS’ Motivational Wall.
Runners waited eagerly at Mizuno’s stand for their turn to do a 360o foot scan, which helped them gain insight into which shoes would fit their running style best.

Mizuno is locally distributed by Brand ID.
Visitors doing 360o scans at the Mizuno stand.
The Sweat Shop’s owner, Jax Snyman, was on their stand helping customers.
What’s an expo without specials? Exhibitors competed with each other for visitors’ attention (and wallets) by offering discounts.

The Sweat Shop’s promotions included a combo deal where runners could purchase the ASICS 33DFA at a discounted rate and receive a free ASICS t-shirt.

Cape Union Mart’s stand prominently displayed show special banners, advertising shoes, watches, clothing, etc. at reduced rates.
Cape Union Mart’s stand offered a number of specials.
Retailers weren’t the only ones offering specials. TomTom marked down their watches and Terra Brands got visitors interested with three-for-the-price-of-two offers.
Terra Brands offered visitors specials on equipment at their stand.
The first day of the expo fell on BokFriday and saw many of the exhibitors including ASICS SA (Springbok sponsor), The Sweat Shop and TomTom proudly sporting their green and gold.
TomTom's Dewildt Smith helping customers on their stand.

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Ultra excitement for Ultra-Trail Cape Town 2015

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Ultra-Trail Cape Town (UTCT) 2015 was presented to the media last night at the Trail and Tar store in Tokai, Cape Town.
This year marks the second UTCT, which takes trail runners over and along Table Mountain. "What better way to see Cape Town?", asks Kim Stephens, who is involved with promoting and organising UTCT. In fact, some of the runners in last year's race said they'd never been to Cape Town before and enjoyed the magnificent views that the race offers.
Brand ID offers top products for a runner, says Paul Copson, brand manager for Mizuno and Skins.
It is important to align yourself with the right partners, said Tar and Trail’s Noel Ernstzen. And what partners have aligned themselves with the UTCT! The ultra is partnered by, among others, Columbia, Nathan, Mizuno, Skins (all distributed by Brand ID), Suunto (distributed by Ultimo), and PowerTraveller (Wintec Solution). Trail and Tar is also a partner and will have a drinks station on the route, which Ernstzen promises will be heard from afar so as to lift participants’ spirits.
Tar and Trail’s Noel Ernstzen and Kim Stephens.
Ernstzen himself is no stranger to the trail world. One of his achievements is being the first runner in the masters age group (50+) to run sub five hours in the Otter Trail Run.
Kim Stephens and race director Nic Bornman.
There will be between 530-600 participants this year from 28 nations, predicts race director Nic Bornman. More than a third of participants (35%) are from outside of the Western Cape. 

The race has already attracted the attention of top athletes such as Kerry-Ann Marshall (SA), Linda Doke (SA), Chantel Nienaber (SA), Gift Kelehe (SA) Sally McRae (US), Devon Yanko (US), Ernstzen (SA), Salameh al Aqara (Jordan), Andrew Hagan (SA), Jock Green (SA), Landie Greyling (SA) and Christiaan Greyling (SA).

UTCT takes place on 3 October and offers three races (100km, 65km and 20km), with nine aid stations no more than 15km apart. The 100km race covers the iconic landmarks of Table Mountain, Lions Head, Signal Hill, Hout Bay, Llandudno, the Constantia Winelands, Kirstenbosch Nature Reserve and Devils Peak. The majority of the route (90%) is on mountain trails, with runners occasionally diverted into the city to tie together Cape Town’s rich cultural, built and natural heritage.

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