Successful year with SA Jockey Academy

Newton Agency’s performance psychologist Dr Kirsten van Heerden wrapped up a successful year with the SA Jockey Academy today. Dr van Heerden works with the apprentice jockeys helping prepare them for the professional racing world and was very happy with the years progress: ‘The racing world is a tough one and the Academy provides a perfect opportunity for aspiring jockeys to learn the skills needed to flourish as a pro. Everyone has worked really hard on their mental skills this year and it certainly shows in their results on the track and in the classroom; I am looking forward to continuing the work next year and seeing even more success stories’.


The academy is the only one of its kind in South Africa offering an academic and practical apprentice programme leading to qualification as a professional jockey.

Agency celebrates 5 years

Newton Agency turned 5 this year and as a thank you to everyone who played a part in the journey thus far, a cocktail party was held at Distillery 031, Durban’s first craft distillery, last week. Guests included past and present clients such as Olympians Luvo Manyonga, Wenda Nel and Bridgitte Hartley, Protea cricket player Andile Phehlukwayo, as well as South African coaches Graham Hill and Hennie Kriel.

‘More than celebrating 5 years, we really wanted to thank those who had been a part of our story so far. It was wonderful to have clients, colleagues, friends and family come together for an evening to reflect on what has been achieved and to look forward to what’s ahead for the Agency’ said group MD Lee-Roy Newton.

The evening showcased the Agency’s creative and innovative approach to work, with 7 large story boards highlighting various events from the past 5 years. There was Khotso Mokoena’s jump over a live crocodile (and unofficial Guinness World Record), the first Global Athletics Conference and Omega’s first ever partnership with a South African brokered by the Agency. A commitment to Africa and Women in Sport were also prominent themes of the evening.


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Agency hosts workshops on what it really means to be a pro athlete

Newton Agency’s team of athlete representatives, athlete service manager and performance psychologist were in Pretoria last week to host a series of workshops with some their athletes and coaches about the realities of being a professional athlete.  In the course of Agency work over the past few years it had become apparent that athletes and coaches, while speaking a lot about the dream of the Olympics and performance, often fail to discuss and think about the other side of pro sport.

‘It’s easy to make money as an athlete, but keeping it is difficult. We wanted to educate athletes and coaches about the business element of being a professional and to try broaden their thinking beyond just performance’ said Lee-Roy Newton, group MD. Hennie Kotze, considered one of the world’s best hurdles coaches echoed this statement ‘You often forget about the business of athletics and focus only on performance.  These workshops have made a big impact on me by showing how important something such as contracts with athletes are and how important good financial planning is for life after sport’.

Other issues discussed included post-career planning; ‘When athletes ignore the one sure thing in their athletics career – retirement – it makes life after sport very difficult. Even if athletes have earned so much money that they don’t have to work again, what will get them out of bed every day?’ said Dr Kirsten van Heerden, Agency performance psychologist. Kotze agreed, ‘It’s critical that athletes think about life after sport, and it’s wonderful that Newton Agency addressed this issue. Thank you for caring about the athlete as a whole person, it makes our job as coaches much easier when we know our athletes are well looked after’.

Wend Nel, 400m hurdles specialist and Olympic athlete, said she hoped the young athletes took in all the information as it could help them make better choices in their career ‘Even as a senior athlete I learnt a lot this weekend and wish I had access to this type of information when I was starting my career. Even though I am happy with where I am now, having had these insights earlier I may have made a few different decisions. I hope the younger athlete appreciate what they have heard’.


The necessity and success of the workshops are reflected in the feedback from the athletes and coaches themselves:

I think every athlete needs this. It has helped me a lot to understand life as an athlete and what to be careful ofLuvo Manyonga, Olympic silver medallist

The workshop really opened my eyes and I am so happy it happened at the beginning of my career so I can make better decisions. I know now that I must always keep the future in consideration because that’s where my life will be one dayGift Leotlela, Olympian & World Junior medallist

Thank you Newton Agency for the past weekend; I know my career is in good hands and I am looking forward to the future nowJaco Engelbrecht, Africa Shot Put Champion.

I learned so many new things though the workshops and now I know what to expect from my athletics career and the real world of athletics and lifeClarence Munyai, Olympian

What a great experience spending time with world class athletes and learning from an Agency well known for their progressive thinking. Thank you Newton AgencyHennie Kriel, coach

Ethiopian half marathon record holder signs with Agency

Newton Sports Agency is delighted to announce the signing of Atsedu Tsegay Tesfay, the current Ethiopian  record holder and 6th all time world best half marathon runner. Lee-Roy Newton, group MD, was happy to add an athlete of Tsegay’s calibre to the Agency’s stable: ‘Atsedu is a huge talent having won multiple international Half Marathons as well as being a medallist at the African cross Country Championships, and so we are looking forward to working together with him for the 2017 season and beyond”.