It was in February 1975 when Manie started at Unicor Wrestling Club in Evander, (South Eastern Transvaal) Mpumalanga as a parent with his son Johan van den Berg starting out as a wrestler, age of 5 years.
He became involved in wrestling administration almost immediately and during the club’s April 1975 Special General Meeting, Manie was elected as Chairman of Unicor Wrestling Club, a post that he held for 20 years.
Manie and his team at the club ran it like a well-oiled machine and the club soon became the Champion Wrestling Club in South Eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga) and held this title for many years to come.
During 1995 Manie moved and became a member of Sasol Wrestling Club, in Secunda. Here he was Patron and served as a member of the Wrestling Club Executive Management until October 2020.
It came as no surprise when he was elected to the South Eastern Transvaal Executive Management in 1982. He serve in several positions on the Executive Management including Secretary General, Assistant Secretary, Assistant Treasurer and Vice President. He served on this executive until 2000. Manie is Lifelong Honorary Member of the Mpumalanga Wrestling Association and Sasol Wrestling Club.
In 1993 he became a member of the Execute Management of South African Wrestling Federation. He resigned as Secretary of South Eastern Transvaal (Mpumalanga) in 1996 when he was elected as Secretary General of the South African Wrestling Federation.
In 2013 Manie was elected as Vice President of the African Wrestling Federation.
Management of the sport was not his only interest, he wanted to do more and in 1978 Manie registered as a Referee, Coach, Team Manager and Admin Official.
Manie the Referee:
He was a Referee for 16 years and during this time Manie represented Unicor Wrestling Club at many Wrestling Competitions and South Eastern Transvaal as Referee at many South African Wrestling Championships and Inter Provincial Wrestling Competitions. He qualified and become a National Referee in 1985. He attended an International Referee Course Pretoria in 1991, passing the examination and going on to Referee for an International Wrestling Test between Russia and South Africa that took place in Orkney in the Free State. This was not his last international performance as a referee and in March 1993 Manie was amongst 6 other South African Referees selected to officiate at an International Wrestling Competition in Cairo, Egypt. He went on to referee at the 1995 All African Games in Zimbabwe.
Manie the Team Manager:
In September 1993 Manie was chosen as the Springbok Greco-Roman Team Manager representing South Africa at the Africa Wrestling Championships in Pretoria and received his Springbok Colours as Team Manager. Many tours as Team Manager followed, including the 1997 South African Senior Wrestling Team touring Italy and Greece. This time around Manie received his Protea Colours as Team Manager.
Manie the Admin Official
Manie was comfortable and firmly in place everywhere he got involved in Wrestling but he found his ultimate passion as an Admin Official. He was a pairing official at many South Eastern Transvaal and Mpumalanga Competitions and soon became a National Admin Official doing duty as a pairing official and ensuring that many Club, Provincial and South African Wrestling Championships ran smoothly. No doubt the highlight of his Admin Official tenure was the World Cadet Wrestling Championships – Greco-Roma in 1998, where he was head of the local organizing committee for the tournament, the success here lead to an opportunity to become and International Pairing Master, a first in South Africa. He was a Pairing Master for 14 years and headed up a number of international competition that was held in South Africa.
2020 Became the year he decided to retire; with 28 years on the South African Wrestling Federation Executive Management and 25 years as Secretary General of the South African Wrestling Federation and 45 years of dedication in the management and administration of wrestling.