NMU - Madibaz - Erin Harty - Water polo

A trio of Madibaz student-athletes are closing in on their best condition as they prepare to test themselves against their international peers at the World University Games in a fortnight’s time.

Erin Harty (water polo), Mlamli Ndlondlo (judo) and Tjaart van der Walt (athletics) have been selected for South Africa for the Games in Chengdu, China, from July 28 to August 8.

In another coup for Mandela University, Cheryl Kotze has been appointed manager of the swimming team.

The students are in the final phases of their preparation with the goal of peaking at just the right time.

Van der Walt, who is studying information technology, said he felt ready to test himself at the highest level.

“As I’m still a junior in athletics terms, this is a great opportunity to step up to a senior phase in the sport,” the 400m specialist said.

The 19-year-old has represented the country on four occasions but this will be his first trip to the World University Games.

NMU - Madibaz - Erin Harty - Water polo

Madibaz water polo player Erin Harty is in the South African team that will compete at the World University Games in Chengdu, China, from July 28 to August 8. Photo: Supplied

He expects the competition to be tough and therefore his first objective is to ensure he runs a good time.

Van der Walt showed his potential when he ran a PB of 46.55 seconds at an Athletics SA Grand Prix meet in Germiston back in April.

“That put me in line to earn a place in the team and I have been continuing to work hard to be ready for the Games,” he said.

Ndlondlo believes he has reaped the rewards for consistent performances.

“I know I will need to elevate my efforts to heights I have not yet accomplished, but I am fully focused on doing well,” the logistics graduate said.

The 24-year-old sees the occasion as an opportunity to continue his development. He has dedicated himself to the sport of judo by continuously working on being “better than I was yesterday”.

“Every event I have taken part in has taught me something. I was always hopeful that something meaningful would come from it.”

Utility water polo player Harty is thrilled to have another chance to compete for her country.

“It will be my first Games. Being selected for SA to compete in a tournament of such high quality is honestly so special and something I will cherish,” the former national U17 and U19 player said.

A good dose of dedication has helped her reach performances worthy of the international stage and that no doubt will continue until she jets off to China.

“We have programmes for every week and certain testing that needs to be completed and sent to our coach,” the third-year BA student explained.

“There are constant gym and pool sessions and we will also be meeting as a team for a training camp before China.”

Harty is not daunted by the nature of the challenge.

“It is going to be tough, but I see that as exciting as we are privileged to be participating against some of the best athletes in the world.”