Volleyball, athletics, netball and soccer were the sporting codes that participated in the event, and Mbombela proved to be the indomitable side winning all the matches against Siyabuswa campus.
Among other sporting codes that took centre stage were the recently launched indigenous games: Morabara, Chess, and Diketo, which were another firm favourite for students and staff.
The well attended event was opened by the Dean of Students, Dr Paul Maminza who encouraged students to continue participating in sports. He further said that the university sport and recreation is committed to providing an environment that allows students to have a vibrant student life through sporting and recreational activities.
Mbombela and Siyabuswa athletes competing for medals.
UMP Sports and Recreation Manager Velhemina Manamela said the institution last had an annual event in 2016: “We are here today at the UMP sports field celebrating the first ever officialised sports day.”
She further said that the university is looking forward to future sporting events where all the codes are included, and staff members may also participate to make it even more vibrant and exciting.
"As the Sports and Recreation manager, it is my hope and wish that event will continue to encourage fitness and wellness amongst students. We also encourage active participation."
Recently UMP has been performing outstandingly and received national recognition at provincial and national level with some of the university students being selected to represent Mpumalanga at national level.
Volleyball stars, Banele Thobela and Bongiwe Mahlangu were selected to be part of the Mpumalanga Volleyball team (The Buffaloes) that played at the National Volleyball tournament that took place in Bloemfontein from 26 to 30 September 2022.
UMP female athletes during a relay race.
Recently UMP introduced indigenous games at both Mbombela and Siyabuswa campuses, and two students were also selected to play nationally. Dibeke participant Limpho Motau and Cathrine Sitoe who plays Diketo were selected to represent Mpumalanga at the National Indigenous Games Competition which were recently held in KwaZulu Natal.
“Though the indigenous games were recently launched, we can see that the participating numbers are high. More students are engaging and participating in the games. When we launched, we never thought we will be where we are especially as we now have two students representing us nationally in KZN.
Earlier this year, netball stars Lerato Baloyi and another renowned star, Condi Sibiya, represented the university at the Sunbirds Netball trials, which were held in Nelspruit on 20 March this year.
“Our teams are members of the different sports federations and participate in the various leagues, local, district and provincial. The university is also part of Universities Sports South Africa (USSA) and participates in the various USSA Tournaments throughout the year,” said Ms Manamela.
The 2022 sports day ended with the Mbombela soccer, volleyball and netball teams receiving gold medals. The winners received a rotating trophy, which will be up for grabs again next year as the Sports and Recreation Division plans on making this an annual event.
Ms Manamela concluded: “The university continuously encourages students to participate in sporting activities and towards the introduction of new sporting codes. We look forward to seeing what next year will hold and how many more codes we will be able to include in this great event.”
@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures @Chrisplphoto.