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27 March 2018 Photo Varsity Sports
Medals galore at second Varsity meeting Peter Makgato
Peter Makgato won the long jump title at the second Varsity athletics meeting in Pretoria with a winning jump of 7.56m.

The University of the Free State (UFS) had a successful second Varsity athletics meeting on Friday 23 March 2018 at the Tuks Athletics Stadium in Pretoria, dominating the long jump and middle distances. 

The 25 athletes achieved six gold and eight bronze medals. Although it’s just one more than what they earned at the first Varsity meeting at the beginning of the month, two more received gold. On 2 March 2018 the Free State students totalled four gold, six silver and three bronze medals. 

Although Yolandi Stander bagged a silver in the discus, it didn’t contribute to the Kovsies’ total. Stander competed for Tuks last year and the competition rules do not permit her to participate for another university in the following year.
 
Victories in middle distances and long jump
As was the case in the first meeting, the athletes running in the red colours of the Kovsies outsprinted the rest in the middle distances with three first places. Both Ruan Jonck (1:50.56) and Ts’epang Sello (2:10.42) defended their titles in the 800m for men and women respectively.

In the 1500m for women, Tyler Beling clocked a winning time of 04:33.48 with Lara Orrock following in third place (04:46.37). Both are just 18 years old. 

Both long-jump titles were decisive victories. Peter Makgato’s winning jump (7.56m) was 0.17m more than his closest competitor, and Maryke Brits (5.81m) won by 0.14m.

Three bronze medals were added in the field events; Nadia Meiring (47.10m) in the hammer throw) and Sefako Mokhosoa (15.29m, men) and Molebohang Pherane (11.67m, women) both in the triple jump. 

On the track Ané Erasmus (400m hurdles, 1:04.04), Hendrik Maartens (200m, 21.01) and Sokwakana Mogwasi (100m, 11.99) all ended in the third spot. 

The men’s varsity mixed medley relay won their race once again, and the men’s 4x100m relay finished third. 
The Kovsies ended fourth overall after the two meetings.

News Archive

Plant scientists address wheat rust diseases at SASPP congress
2015-02-02

Pictured from the left are: Prof Zakkie Pretorius, Dr Botma Visser and Howard Castelyn.
Photo: Supplied

In his research, Dr Botma Visser, researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State, highlighted the population dynamics of the stem rust fungus (Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici) in Southern Africa. In recent years, two foreign stem rust races were introduced to South Africa, and a local virulence adaptation occurred in a third.

All of these races form part of the Ug99 group, a highly virulent collection of rust races endangering wheat production in many parts of the world. Despite the fact that half of the members of the Ug99 race group is prevalent in South Africa, Dr Visser’s work has clearly shown that Ug99 did not have its origin here. This emphasised the need to include neighbouring countries in the annual stem rust surveys, to proactively identify new races that could threaten local wheat production. In his research, Dr Visser also mentioned the way in which he has optimised modern molecular tools to accurately detect Ug99 isolates.

Dr Visser is one of three scientists from the Department of Plant Sciences that addressed delegates attending the biennial congress of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology (SASPP) on the Bloemfontein Campus earlier this month on progress regarding research on wheat rust diseases conducted at the UFS.

Howard Castelyn, a PhD student in Plant Sciences, presented his research on quantifying fungal growth of the stem rust pathogen in wheat varieties displaying genetic resistance. This resistance, which is best expressed in adult plants, has the potential to remain durable in the presence of new rust variants. His presentation at the congress focused on optimising microscopic and molecular techniques to track fungal development in stem tissues of adult plants. These results now allow scientists to link rust infection levels and cellular responses with particular resistance genes expressed by the wheat plant, and contributing to the understanding and exploitation of durable resistance.

Prof Zakkie Pretorius presented his research, explaining how new genetic diversity for resistance to the stripe (yellow) rust fungus (Puccinia striiformis) is discovered, analysed and applied in South Africa. This research, conducted in collaboration with Dr Renée Prins and her team at CenGen, is unravelling the genetic basis of stripe rust resistance in a promising wheat line identified by Dr Willem Boshoff, a plant breeder at Pannar. The line and DNA markers to track the resistance genes will soon be introduced to South African wheat breeding programmes.

The rust research programme at the UFS contributes significantly to the successful control of these important crop diseases.

In addition to the contributions by the UFS, rust fungi featured prominently at the SASPP, with first reports of new diseases on sugar cane and Acacia and Eucalyptus trees in South Africa. A case study of the use of a rust fungus as a biological control agent for invasive plant species in the Western Cape, was also presented.

 

For more information or enquiries contact news@ufs.ac.za .

 

 

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