Wits cap off nail-biting USSA week

Tshepiso Mametela

Superb spirited performances and fierce competition capped off an exciting campaign for Wits, when the curtain fell on the 2017 University Sports South Africa (USSA) event, on July 7.

When new champions beckoned, Wits took up the duties of hosting and welcomed rugby, hockey and chess players as well as gymnasts to the institution.

In a sheer display of dominance, Wits were crowned double USSA basketball champions, with Wits men beating University of KwaZulu-Natal 63–53 in the final, while the women ousted last year’s winners, namely Vaal University of Technology, 52–42.

On the hockey astro, Wits’ men and women hockey sides blasted into the hockey semi-finals for the first time in their history. As a result, Wits has made the semi-finals seven times at eight hockey events in the past two years, including Varsity Men’s Hockey 2016, Varsity Women’s Hockey 2017 and the Southern Gauteng (men’s and women’s) League last year.

The rugby men came within inches of securing a final berth for the first time in their history in the USSA Men’s Rugby A section. The team, however, stumbled to a 19–13 defeat against NWU Pukke (North-West University), despite humbling defending champions and current Varsity Cup holders UP Tuks (University of Pretoria) 32–27.

A valiant attempt on the soccer field meant that Wits finished 8th in the Men’s A section to qualify for Varsity Football 2018 despite losing 3– 2 to University of Limpopo. The women’s soccer team managed 10th place after beating Cape Peninsula University of Technology 2–0 in the 9th/10th place play-offs.

The chess front saw the Wits men’s team claim gold, with the women’s team falling just short of a podium finish in 4th. Consolation for the hosts was a 3rd place finish overall to go along with a 4th place finish in the gymnastics arena.

Head of Wits Sport, Adrian Carter said the achievements recorded by the institution would be remembered for a long time. “A special week of USSA tournaments came to an end with many highlights,” he said.

“History was made by our Witsie basketball men and women who are national champions. This was the stand-out performance of the USSA week – be rest assured that these achievements will be celebrated for a long time.”

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