NWU’s new FNB High Performance Institute attracts British Olympic athletic team
The combination of good weather, the grass track and the top of the range facilities at the FNB High Performance Institute makes the NWU the ideal training destination for the visiting British Olympic athletic team.
The team arrived in South Africa early in January 2007 for a three week training camp at the sports centre of the Potchefstroom Campus of the NWU.
Dr Theuns Eloff, Vice-Chancellor of the North West University, demonstrated to the visiting team what the true meaning of South African hospitality is when he invited them for a barbeque at the Vice-Chancellor’s residence on Sunday 14 January 2007.
“The NWU, which is rated the top sports university in South Africa, takes sports very seriously,” Dr Eloff said in his welcoming word on Sunday evening.
According to Mr Aston Moore, the head sprinting coach of the team, training in Potchefstroom is a vital part of the team’s current preparation for the European Indoor Athletics Championships in March this year.
Amongst the team members is Ms Jo Pavey, who ranks amongst the top five middle distance women athletes in the world. Ms Pavey is no stranger to Potchefstroom, as she trained here on several occasions during the past.
Another star in the team is Mr Mark-Lewis Francis, a member of the British 4 x 100 metres men’s relay team who surprised the world when they, instead of the American favourites, won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.
Ms Kelly Sotherton, who won a bronze medal for the heptathlon at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 2004, is also a member of the visiting team.
Accompanying the team as its head medical official is Dr Paul Dijkstra, a former Potchefstroom physician and sports injuries specialist.
According to Mr Jean Verster, who brought the team to Potchefstroom, visits from elite sports stars like the British Olympic team have the added benefit of interaction between international athletes and coaches and their local counterparts in Potchefstroom, resulting in valuable knowledge exchange.
From left to right: Prof Dawie Malan, Director: School for Biokinetics, Recreation and Sports Science, Mr Aston Moore, head sprinting coach of the visiting British Olympic athletics team, Dr Theuns Eloff, Vice-Chancellor of the North-West University and Prof Annette Combrink, Rector of the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University.
Dr Theuns Eloff, Vice-Chancellor of the North-West University, recently entertained the British Olympic athletic team at his home. With him are members of the medical team who accompanied the athletes. They are from left: Dr Paul Dijkstra, Ms Paula Clayton, Ms Rhoné Thompson, Ms Sam Stear and Mr Neil Black.