Ellis Park Indoor Arena will once more 'Break the Mould' this coming Sunday.
Purpose-built in 1986 to host international tennis tournaments when South Africa provided a venue for the ATP Tour Doubles Finals, Ellis Park Indoor Arena is being brought to life again. On Sunday, 4th November, Ellis Park Indoor Arena will once again welcome the tennis elite when Venus and Serena Williams match up for their first on-court battle in South Africa.
With its tennis hard court freshly resurfaced in honour of the sisters' exhibition match, which takes place at 2pm, Ellis Park is ready to host more than 4000 excited tennis fans that will have made their way from all over the country to witness this historic event.
Venus and Serena Williams will be in the country to champion Breaking the Mould (BTM). This is an initiative created by Octagon SA, aimed specifically at acknowledging and recognising women (of all ages) who have broken the mould whether at home, play work or in their communities. These are women who have risen above their own set of challenges and adversities to succeed and inspire.
The BTM Venus vs Serena Williams Exhibition Match will also break the mould by being the first match to feature wheelchair tennis players as ball kids. Wheelchair Tennis SA through the Sports Trust, will be the recipients of funds raised through the auction of original tennis memorabilia kindly donated by the sisters, at a gala dinner held on Saturday, 3 November. "It is only fitting therefore that this important occasion should be marked with yet another mould breaking moment," commented Qondisa Ngwenya, Managing Director of Octagon and the mastermind behind the BTM initiative.
It is also appropriate that this match is being played at this particular arena in the heart of the city of gold because it too is somewhat of a mould breaker: the SA Open prior to the professional era of sport we know today, was the only Grand Slam event to be played at high altitude - today, there are only three places in the world where international matches are played at altitude and they are Mexico, Andorra and Johannesburg, SA.
And yet another first - a mixed doubles pairing of top ranked Wheelchair Tennis SA and Tennis SA competitors, is sure to please the assembled spectators and SABC 3's viewers, in a curtain raiser match.
With a nicely warmed up crowd, the Williams sisters will be sure of a heroes welcome as they take to the court. The winner will be anyone's guess. Evenly matched with similar power play styles, both wielding the same racquet with a mean right forehand and double back-hands and with only a year between them, it could be Serena, the world number three player or Venus who has recently shot to the number 24 spot on the world rankings list, who will take the honours as the BTM champion. Either way, the match in Johannesburg is set to be a thrilling conclusion to a whirlwind BTM tour.
Umpire - The BTM Exhibition Match will be umpired by Adri du Plessis who started umpiring in 1990. She received her white badge in 2000. Since then she umpired in several Davis Cup ties (including the tie between South Africa and Denmark), Fed Cup ties in South Africa and abroad as well as Challenger and Satellite events. She was part of the team of chair umpires during the 2010 Wheelchair World Team event. She umpired at Wimbledon in 2009 and 2010 and most recently at the 2012 US Open where she was part of the team of officials who umpired the finals of the mixed doubles.
Wheelchair Tennis SA - A curtain raiser match will be played before the main event.
Players: WheelChair Tennis SA Evans Maripa - Ranked #1 SA Men and #30 in the world and Kgothatso Montjane - Ranked #1 SA Women and #10 in the world
Tennis South Africa Illse Hattingh - Only 16 years of age but is ranked #1 Girls Under 16 and under 18 and # 71 in the world. and Lynn Kiro - Aged 17 years, ranked #6 in SA and # 120 in the world.
Ball KIds: Thato Naptali Tsomole - 15 years of age, plays in the Juniors and Men's B Division and is ranked #5 in national juniors and #11 internationally. His disability is Aminoband Syndrome.
Sean-Liam de Hilster - 15 years of age, plays juniors and men's division. #6 in the juniors and #23 in the men's division - nationally and # 17 in the juniors and # 467 in the men's division. Disability - Sacral Agenesis.
Biographies are available in the press kit.
Who is behind BTM?
BTM was conceived by Octagon Marketing's Managing Director Qondisa Ngwenya (Q). BTM aims to promote and sustain a "Breaking the Mould" culture in South Africa. Over the years, Q has seen, repeatedly, how the power of leading female athletes and personalities can inspire and encourage audiences from all walks of life to achieve great things.
About Q - Managing Director
Qondisa Ngwenya has been at the helm of Octagon Marketing for the past 12 years and is the mastermind behind 'Breaking the Mould' (BTM). With over 19 years' experience in the sports and entertainment brand engagement arena, including a stint as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the SA Sports Commission, Q, as he is known, has been at the forefront of many industry innovations including Octagon's own in-house broadcasting division.
Q's visionary outlook has seen the agency expand its footprint into Africa, with a presence in Lagos, Accra and Nairobi. But his current innovation, BTM, extends his company's ambit beyond pure sports and entertainment into engaging directly with a growing female audience that is discerning and a powerful consumer voice - one that demands to be heard in more meaningful and sustainable ways.
Ngwenya is as much a family man as he is a consummate business professional. He divides his time between the family home in Durban and his business commitments in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Octagon's outposts on the African continent. While he is always on a mission, Q manages to achieve balance with grace and calm and this almost belies his passion and energy for delivering outstanding results and for driving Octagon forward.
Octagon SA is the premier sponsorship engagement agency in Africa, offering its clients a complete suite of professional services from: Sponsorship consulting, strategy development and implementation; competitor reviews and analytical comparisons; to event and hospitality creation & management, media and communications services and a full range of broadcast production and broadcast rights negotiations and management.
Intermatch Sports Marketing (ISM) is a sports marketing and business development company based in Switzerland and the UK founded 2006 by Benjamin JP Henecka, a FIFA Official from Germany. ISM is committed to helping its clients be successful through sport related activities. The core business is the organization of commercial matches and tournaments with premium sport brands.
Profile Benjamin JP Henecka:
Benjamin JP Henecka, a German entrepreneur and FIFA Official, is based in Zurich, Switzerland. He is one of a handful of agents in the world that holds the license from FIFA and UEFA which gives him the exclusive right to stage international soccer events with clubs and national teams. His companies and main business interests are in the luxury and sport industry and the core markets are Africa and the United States. In 2010, Benjamin Henecka established the idea of bringing the Williams Sisters to South Africa in order to promote the sport in Africa and to inspire young black females through two of the most successful ambassadors and icons of tennis - Serena and Venus Williams.
As the leading full service Sponsorship Marketing agency, Octagon seeks to harness the passion and emotive power of sports and entertainment opportunities to ensure large and small companies see the highest return on their sponsorship investment and deliver powerful brand messages through memorable consumer experiences.- more....
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