Looking back at the year in sport

The South African men’s hockey team earned a spot in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) qualification programme for the 2026 Milano Cortina Olympic Games Round 2, Group K. Picture: Fuad Esack

The minstrel troupes parading through the streets of Cape Town during the “Tweede Nuwe Jaar” festivities set the tone for a memorable year on the sporting front, as this was followed by the opening round of the 2023 minstrel competition season, at Athlone Stadium.

Here we take a look back at some of the sports people who graced our back pages this year.

In January, cricket took centre stage as United Cricket Club, Green Point Cricket Club and the teams from the Atlantic seaboard battled it out in the Western Province Cricket Association’s First Division A and Premier Leagues.

StreetFest 2022, after a two-year break, roared to life with thousands of spectators at the Killarney drag strip, showcasing custom cars and bakkies in a celebration of street-car culture.

After a hiatus of nearly four years, Sea Point Primary revived the inter-schools athletics meeting on February 6, at Jan van Riebeeck Primary’s sports grounds. The event saw enthusiastic participation from Sea Point, Tamboerskloof, Camps Bay, Jan van Riebeeck, Kronendal, Hout Bay International, St Cyprian’s, and Reddam primary schools, fostering a day of spirited competition and camaraderie.

In March, Hamilton RFC made headlines by expanding its team to include a girls’ rugby team, marking a historic move in the club’s 148-year history.

Boxing SA hosted the Western Cape Boxing Convention at the Cape Town Lodge Hotel in May. Top boxers, promoters, managers, trainers and officials attended the convention to discuss concerns, find solutions and develop boxing in the province.

April brought ice hockey glory as the South Africa’s senior men’s team secured a third-place finish at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Division III Group A senior men’s world championship. There would be more achievement for the country’s ice hockey to come later in the year.

Known for their world-class training facility and family-friendly environment, Pride Fighting Academy (PFA), leaders in mixed martial arts training for over two decades, relaunched and found a new home in Roeland Street. Owned and operated by husband and wife duo, Mike and Jessica (Jess) Mouneimne, the focus has always been to create an inclusive and safe space that provides high level training for all levels, from absolute beginners to world champions. As a result the gym has produced a number of champions from boxing, Jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. Jess challenged for the women’s Strawweight belt at EFC 101.

May celebrated Killarney International Raceway with a Blue Plaque award and showcased rising stars in Western Cape boxing, including Asekho Nocele and Asavela Peter.

Young prodigy Dillon Prosser, from MadFit Boxing in Roeland Street, made his debut in the ring, securing a first-round knockout victory at the Insane Boxing Promotions showcase in Goodwood in June. With support from seasoned professionals, Prosser marked the beginning of what promises to be a stellar career.

Youssef Kanouni, a prominent figure in the running community, continued to use running as a platform for activism and unity. His three-decade-long commitment to pushing personal and community limits made running not just a sport but a tool for social change.

Kanouni, originally from Casablanca, Morocco, fell in love with South Africa during his first visit in 1994 when he was invited to the country as a top runner in his athletic heyday. Captivated by the country’s natural beauty, as a runner he made it his mission to promote running as an accessible sport for all.

Captain Kyle Saunders led the South African Bok Tag Rugby team at the International Tag Federation (ITF) Tag World Cup, in Ireland, showcasing his leadership skills and the team’s prowess on the international stage.

September brought athletic achievements, with Betha Sitariko from Atlantic Athletic Club winning the Nantes Heritage Day 10km run, and SK Walmer securing promotion back to Super League A in rugby.

Eleven-year-old Capetonian Dylan Wiggill made waves in BMX racing, securing the third spot in the BMX SA Championships.

Tramway Football Club’s under-14 girls’ team, led by Coach Harold “Potz” Johnson, made history by winning in Green Point. Tramway were unbeaten throughout the entire season, winning the Cape Town Football Association (CTTFA) girls’ under-14 league and knockouts. Next year they will head up to participate in an international tournament in Sweden.

November featured the Funky Culture Crew representing South Africa at the International Dance Organisation (IDO) world championships and the RMB UTCT trail running event covering 167km up Table Mountain and across the Peninsula, to Simon’s Town and back via Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak, Constantia and through Newlands Forest, to the finish in Oranjezicht.

To round the year off on a positive note, the South African men’s hockey team earned a spot in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) qualification programme for the 2026 Milano Cortina Olympic Games Round 2, Group K.

Ice Hockey president, Jason Cerff said: “It’s a historic moment that can and will be cherished forever. This will be put down in the history of ice hockey in South Africa to be the first ever Olympic event that the national team will be competing in.”

We wish all our readers on the Atlantic seaboard and in the City Bowl a safe holiday in the surf, sand and mountain trails; keep running, swimming and staying healthy.

SK Walmer squad members acknowledge their supporters following a 50-7 win against Hands & Heart. Picture: Fuad Esack
Men’s Open Team ready for the 2023 International Tag Federation (ITF) Tag World Cup, in Ireland. Picture: Lonwabo Marele
With spectacular views and a challenging route on offer, the RMB Ultra-trail Cape Town (RMB UTCT) is considered South Africa’s premier trail running event and a favourite among international runners. Picture: Sam Clark