College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Mr Rudi Fokkens and his sister, Ms Hannah Fokkens, who received the UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship for Sailing.

Siblings, Mr Rudi and Ms Hannah Fokkens, have been awarded the Prestige Sports Scholarship Award in recognition for their excellence in sports.

For Rudi, who is in his third-year BSc Biological Sciences studies, this is his second Prestige Sports Scholarship Award for the second year running while his sister, who is doing her first-year studies towards her Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree (Physiology) is receiving it for the first time.

The Prestige Sports Scholarship is awarded annually for outstanding achievement in sports at international, national or provincial levels.

The passionate sailors are both ecstatic about their scholarships. ‘To share this scholarship with my brother means a lot to me as we are both very passionate about sailing. I am very proud of my brother for his achievement second time round and I am also inspired to reach such lengths,’ said Hannah.

Rudi’s love for sailing started from a young age and has led him to a thriving sailing career which saw him compete in a number of national competitions such as the highly prestigious Lipton Challenge Cup Regatta in which he participated alongside his sister earlier this year.

‘I’ve studied in Durban my entire life, and it only felt natural to continue my education here at such a great institute while training in my home waters, learning from familiar experienced sailors. I will be working with our dedicated UKZN Yacht Club to take part in this year’s Lipton Challenge Cup regatta, a highly prestigious 109-year-old regatta where six months of training and preparation will see us competing against Olympians and World champions,’ he said.

Hannah said her scholarship will allow her to continually improve her sporting accolades by travelling to national events, train with world class sailors and compete on an international level if so desired. ‘Not only does the scholarship benefit my sporting activities, it also allows me to focus on my academics, maintaining my interest in acquiring new knowledge,’ she said.

Rudi expressed his gratitude and excitement to the scholarship donors for awarding him this opportunity and hopes the same will also happen to other aspiring athletes. ‘This scholarship allows me to focus on my studies, improve and expand my sailing career, as well as growing the UKZN Yacht Club and introducing new sailors to the sport, creating the most diverse team on the water. I plan to take every opportunity to compete in international, national and regional events. I want to continue to learn and grow at racing as I do with my studies,’ he said.

Words: Zolile Duma

Photograph: Supplied