The Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS)celebrated its fifth anniversary in January, and has become a training destination of choice to some of the most prominent sporting teams and individuals in the world.
Rob Benadie, chief executive officer of SAS, said international clients have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback. “Sport teams and athletes from 40 countries and from every continent have visited SAS, and the best compliment is coming back year after year. Dutch hockey coach Max Caldes has been coming to SAS since the beginning – as coach of both the women and men’s teams.
“The coaches and athletes that come here are our best marketers and they are incredibly impressed with not only the SAS environment, but also with what they experience in Stellenbosch as a whole,” he said.
At the birthday event, Johann Rupert spoke about some of the challenges faced by local sport federations, and how important it is to always keep perspective when dealing with sport, recognising that there are far more important challenges in life to focus on than winning trophies.
Stellenbosch and SAS has been buzzing with international athletes preparing for the World Championships later in the year in London.
Double Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor from America, Dutch silver medal sprinter Daphne Schippers and gold medal Paralympian Richard Whitehead from England were among the 80 athletes who decided to train here, and it was the third consecutive year Whitehead and his coach Keith Antoine came to SAS.
The Dutch men and Belgium women’s hockey teams also had their pre-season training camps at SAS. The academy has proven itself as the choice of champions of the years with various World and Olympic champions choosing to stay here for their training camps.
SAS is owned by Remgro Sport Investments, and is a custom-built facility dedicated to the needs of professional teams and athletes. The vision is to be recognised as a world-class sport training and preparation environment.
It includes accommodation, training facilities, nutrition, and specialised sport science and medicine services. There is also a physiotherapy unit that is open to the general public.
Anchor teams permanently based at SAS are Springbok Sevens men and women, the Western Province Rugby Institute, and the recently launched Stellenbosch Football Club, formerly known as Vasco de Gama.