Komani might be robbed of its premier sporting event if things do not improve drastically amid the corona virus pandemic. The HPJOC10s is the biggest sporting event locally, attracting a huge following, with people from all walks of life in the country flocking to Komani for the great annual razzmatazz.
The one-day tournament has become an integral part of the community and tops the list as the biggest 10s event in the Border region. The tournament, started in 2016, has grown in leaps and bounds, drawing widespread media coverage with the winner in the rugby section participating at the prestigious Cape Town 10s. It started with two sporting codes, rugby and netball, but soccer, boxing and table tennis have since been icluded.
It is an anxious wait for the organisers, who already have a draft programme in place and a date set for November 28. If all goes according to plan and with the return to play protocols of the government in consideration, chances for the tournament to take place are 50/50.
Organisers have stated that they try to be innovative every year. Plans are afoot to change the venue from the Thobi Kula Stadium to the Queen’s College Victoria Recreation Grounds (The Rec). A submission has already been made to Queen’s College and the Queen’s College Old Boys’ Association. Only three sporting codes will be included this year, with rugby the main drawcard. Soccer will remain, and hockey will be introduced. Hence the importance to shift venues (to accommodate hockey) and a facility that is in top-class condition for an event described as the best in terms of marketing, competitiveness and organisational capacity.
The 10 teams rugby section has defending champions Victoria Park Scorpions, Crusaders, Victoria Park Vipers, Barbarians, Skeletons, Aliwal Wasps, Queens Renegades, SPN Spartans, Bloem Titans and Aloe Ventures. Last year there were 16 soccer teams in the 5-a-side tourney with teams coming from local leagues and surrounding areas. The introduction of hockey is a huge hit, with teams already signing top provincial and SA players to bolster their squads. Hockey will be divided into men’s and ladies’ sections.
Besides the cracking sporting action, the tournament also provides a perfect platform for local businesses and entrepreneurs with the town a hive of activity. BnBs are fully booked and local vendors sell their products. It is a family event from morning till evening. Tournament organisers are waiting with bated breath to see when and how this whole Covid-19 pandemic will play out and have set September as the final date to make the crucial decision whether to cancel or go ahead.