Van Reenen had a huge appetite for sport

BY CLEMENT DU PLESSIS

THIS is the final chapter of a two-part series about former star sportsman Paul Andre van Reenen.

You can read part one here https://www.athleticsclipboard.co.za/athletics-news/paul-andre-van-reenen-a-man-of-many-talents/

ANDRE van Reenen was involved in school sport from 1963 to 1968, his final year at Harold Cressy. Van Reenen represented the Western Province Senior Schools Sports Union athletics team in the boys under 19 age group. He won his favourite event, the long jump, in 21 feet and 8 inches, beating L Ball and F Kolia both of Natal. Van Reenen also won the high jump with a leap of 5 feet and 8 inches.

He had in his age group the Western Province talents of Gavin Benjamin (also a multi-skilled sportsman, 100m and 200m), Harold Davidse (100m and 200m), and Rupert Williams (800m and the mile).

Andre van Reenen competed during a wonderful period of athletics in the late 1960s.

Van Reenen not only represented WP in sport at schools level, but he also represented the City Park-based Western Province Baseball Union when the union dominated the sport in 1969. During the same year, he represented WP Hockey (Lions club) and the City and Suburban Rugby Football Union where his interest in the sport had started as a teenager.

Professional football

In addition to the achievements mentioned, Van Reenen also played football. He represented Cape Union in the under 18 age group, played first-team football in the Alliance Union based at the Rosmead sports ground in Kenilworth for St Lukes, Sinton, and Glenville (amateur).

He also played professional football for Glenville and captained the side, which included Pepi dos Santos, Basil Cameron, Bernard Hartze, and Mansoor Abdullah, the midfield maestro.  His opposite number was Peter Sables of Cape Town Spurs.

Andre van Reenen captained the Glenville Professional team.

His sporting CV is loaded with achievements. Van Reenen played sport at venues across South Africa from City Park to Curries Fountain, Attridgeville and even the Wanderers gets a mention.

Giants in sport

As for teammates who made an impression on Van Reenen, he mentions among a long list of names: Rodney Fabe (hockey), Stephen Draai (hockey) and Ismail Ajam (of Eastern Province hockey), in baseball Donnie Herman, Gerry Gooding, Dougie Lomberg, Andrew Wentzel, Willie Dixon, Chris Osman and later Brian Lombard.

Maurice Heemro, Gerard Peters, Sammy Temo and Alec Pelston feature among the list of names in rugby.

In football, he mentions: Travis Moodie, Brian Roodt, Kosie Arendse, Wilf Gordon, Neville Londt, Christy Martin, Mike Hofmeester,  “Boy” Majiet,  Davy Martin, Reggie Jantjies, Peter Fisher, Siga Sylvester,  Charles Carey, Dougie Carelse, Ivan Dagnin,  Alf Jannetzer,  Basil Medell,  Danny Brink,  Vince Belgeums,  Joey Adonis, “Tam” Solomons, Ernie Harris, “Challa” Links, Wallace Cogill, George Everts, Peter Eagles, Kevin Eagles, Keith Arendse, Stan Mini, Taswald Human,  Alphonso Barreiro, Mansoor Abdullah, Danny Abrahams , Lennie Kleintjies, Faried De Goede, Ismail Abbass, Calvin Petersen and Keith America all recognisable names to sporting fraternity.

There’s no doubt that Van Reenen had a huge appetite for sport.

Determination

Andre van Reenen wasn’t only a versatile sportsman, he was also a utility player who could pitch and play in the outfield at a high level.

What drove the man to pursue so many sporting codes at the highest level? The short answer came.

“The desire to prove to myself that I could. Determination,” he said.

Even though he displayed a wide range of sporting talent, he ‘trained hard and mostly on his own’.

Van Reenen doesn’t offer exactly how he became a dominant long jumper in his time other than to say, ‘it just happened’. He completes the quote by saying that he competed in the 4×100 relay, the half mile and high jump.

He still follows sport.

Van Reenen lives in Canada with his wife Debbie.  

One thought on “Van Reenen had a huge appetite for sport

  • February 19, 2021 at 8:37 pm
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    Hi Clement
    This is Leslie Burgess, nice seeing your picture and bringing back all these amazing memories, yes we all stood our ground for apartheid and sacrificed our God-given talents so our children and grandchildren can be our stars and SA Heroes. Job well-done, bud.

    Yours in sport
    Leslie

    Reply

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