HPI wins Northwest’s top tourism prize
The North-West University’s High Performance Institute (HPI) in Potchefstroom was recently named by the Northwest Parks and Tourism Board as this province’s foremost tourism attraction for 2011 and was rewarded with a trophy as well as a cheque of R10 000 for services rendered to the Northwest Province.
This follows after the HPI was also named as Potchefstroom’s Tourism Attraction of the Year by the Tlokwe city council.
Jakkie van der Berg (secretary), Jean Verster (manager), Divan Engelbrecht (gymnasium manager), Tebogo Motlagelwa (administration) and John Bond (facilities manager), with the awards that the HPI received as Northwest’s tourism attraction of the year.
Nearly a thousand athletes visit the HPI every year and according to the Institute’s manager, Jean Verster, this figure grows every season.
“Besides all the international athletes that we receive, we also get increasingly more soccer teams. Banyana Banyana (the national women soccer team) was here for a training camp and is on their way here again. We also played host to the South African u/17 and u/20 soccer teams this year, who are coming back again,” said Verster.
The Argentinean Pampas, who won this year’s Vodacom Cup by beating the Blue Bulls 14-9, made use of the HPI’s facilities during their stay at the NWU’s Sport Village, as well as Paul Treu’s national sevens team, the Blitsboks, the German speed skating team and France’s national rowing team, to name but a few.
Well known faces such as the Czech world record holder in javelin throwing, Barbora Špotáková, and her coach, Jan Železný (the world record holder for men) could again be seen at the Fanie du Toit sports fields.
“It’s a huge honour to receive the award. However, the award is not only for the HPI, but for everyone who helps to make the HPI a success.”
“If the groundsmen don’t see to it that the fields are in excellent condition, teams will not return. Then there is also everybody, from biokinetics staff, nutritional experts, sports psychologists, the different accommodation institutions to transport services that deserve a lot of praise.”
“The HPI performs a coordination function that is dependent on various experts and staff and we would therefore like to thank all parties involved for their help and support,” says Verster.
Verster, a former Springbok 2 000 and 3 000 m athlete, highlighted Potchefstroom’s climate and height above sea level as role players that draw athletes to the university’s facilities next to the Mooi River.
“The athletes also love Potchefstroom’s people. They are used to big cities where no-one smiles at you, and Potch is a friendly city with a rural feel.
It is a total team effort from the community that brings national and international sportsmen and women back to Potchefstroom.”