PE sen­sa­tion’s star is ris­ing

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - SPORT -

PORT El­iz­a­beth-born Cody van Wyk has fol­lowed his hockey dreams to the bright lights of Jo­han­nes­burg, where he is mak­ing a name for him­self at Wits Uni­ver­sity.

Marked as a po­ten­tial South African hockey star at the ten­der age of 17, Van Wyk has since com­peted at the Youth Olympic Games in 2014, played in the U18 test se­ries against Aus­tralia in 2014, went to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China, was a mem­ber of the South Africa U21 squad in 2015, and played in the Premier Hockey League (PHL) in 2016 and 2017 for the Drak­ens­berg Dragons.

The for­mer Rhodes Uni­ver­sity stu­dent is cur­rently play­ing for Wits in Var­sity Hockey, where the boys from Braam­fontein are third on the over­all ta­ble as they head to the sec­ond leg of the tour­na­ment.

Van Wyk, who is study­ing a bach­e­lor of science hon­ours de­gree in en­vi­ron­men­tal sciences, be­came en­deared to his beloved sport in the un­like­li­est of ways.

“I first started play­ing hockey at the age of six, when my mother brought back a spare hockey stick for me to use from the school that she was teach­ing at, and I have played the sport ever since.”

The for­mer Grey High pupil be­lieves play­ing hockey in Port El­iz­a­beth gave him the skills to progress in the sport.

“The level in Port El­iz­a­beth was quite com­pet­i­tive as I played school hockey, as well as club hockey at Lake­side Cava­liers Hockey Club.

“Our derby fix­ture against Paul Roos Gym­na­sium and our fix­tures against our brother school, Grey Col­lege in Bloem­fontein, were our big­gest hockey ri­vals. Sel­borne, St An­drew’s Col­lege and Queen’s were very com­pet­i­tive as well.”

The Youth Olympian played for the Rhodes men’s first team but be­cause the Gra­ham­stown uni­ver­sity was not in Var­sity Hockey, after re­ceiv­ing a schol­ar­ship to Wits Uni­ver­sity, it was a no-brainer for him to chase his am­bi­tions north.

“Var­sity Hockey has given me a solid foun­da­tion for big tour­na­ments such as the an­nual men’s in­ter-pro­vin­cial tour­na­ments and the PHL.

“The ded­i­cated gym and con­di­tion­ing pro­grammes allowed me to im­prove my field-based per­for­mances and I look for­ward to the next phase and stages of this sea­son.

“With the in­tro­duc­tion of ded­i­cated sport­ing pro­grammes at var­i­ous uni­ver­si­ties, the level of uni­ver­sity hockey has def­i­nitely in­creased and is now start­ing to serve as a feeder sys­tem for play­ers to reach higher lev­els within the sport,” he said.

The sec­ond leg of Var­sity Hockey is this week­end at the Tuk­sS­ports Astro, with the semi­fi­nals tak­ing place on Mon­day.

All games to­mor­row and Mon­day will be tele­vised on Su­perS­port 210.

CHAS­ING DREAMS: Port El­iz­a­beth-born hockey star Cody van Wyk, right, is mak­ing an im­pact for Wits in Var­sity Hockey

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