Sweet 16 for SA | TeamSA - TeamSA

Sweet 16 for SA

By Mark Etheridge
in Maputo

The medals continued to roll in for Team South Africa on Friday at the All Africa Games here in the  Mozambican capital.

Another 16 medals came the way of South Africa and the total medal tally now stands at 89 after five days of competition. South Africa are streets ahead of the opposition at this stage. The haul is made up 40 gold, 23 silver and 26 bronze.

As has become the norm as the competition progresses, the bulk of them came from the swimmers, 12 to be exact. Thus far in the competition, our swimmers have contributed an amazing 60 medals.

And it could have been more had organisers not opted to rule that no one country can win more than two medals in the para-swimming events as from Friday. Emily Gray would have had a bronze after ending third in the 100m backstroke (S6-10) with her 1min 17.99 clocking but instead that medal went to an Angolan swimmer who was considerably slower.

Then Tunisia’s Ahmed Matlhouthi pulled out of the men’s 1500m meaning that Mark Randall and Jasper Venter were denied what looked like certain medals.

Still, the SA medal machine rolled on relentlessly with six gold, four silver and two bronze in the pool.

The para-swimming medallists were Shireen Sapiro in the 100m backstroke, the same race as Gray. She clocked 1:10.86 with Natalie du Toit second in 1:11.73

Then Cape Town’s Achmat Hassiem won the men’s 100m backstroke (S6-10) in 1:11.39 followed by Kevin Waller in silver (1:18.62).

Sapiro was happy “under the circumstances. I’ve got a massive shoulder injury which needs sorting out. It’s been a busy last few months. And I’ve still got to go to Brazil next month for a para-event. Then I’ll get my shoulder seen to and then it’s all systems go in the build-up to next year’s Paralympics in London.

“I must say the Mozambicans have done very well to provide these facilities in the limited time they had.”

For his part Hassiem, who lost a leg to a shark attack five years ago, was also satisfied. “I’m glad that Kevin [Paul] and I have both qualified in the 100m free .. we also qualified in the butterfly in Edmonton a few weeks back. I’m also off to Brazil next month, then just a few days break and the long road to London really gets into gear.”

The four able-bodied golds in the pool, came from Chad le Clos in the 200m butterfly(1:56.37), Charl Crous in the 100m backstroke, Karin Prinsloo in the women’s 50m freestyle and then the women’s 4x100m medley (Prinsloo, Suzaan van Biljon, Mandy Loots and Natasha de Vos) who combined for a winning time of 4:14.00 and a 10sec victory margin over Zimbabwe.

The swimming competition wraps up on Saturday but already they team have improved on their count from four years ago in Algeria where they won a total of 53 medals (25 gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze).

On the cycling front, the men’s team trial, a 26km dash around the city, had a happy ending with the men’s team adding gold to the four medals won by cycling on Thursday. They clocked 35min 12sec for a comfortable win after going off second last of 16 combinations. With three to count for the team, the trio of Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg, Jay Thomson and Darren Lill did the job after Nolan Hoffman had a ‘mechanical’.

“It was quite windy but we rode strongly,” said Janse van Rensburg who won the individual time trial on Friday.

They’ll all be in action for the mens’ road race on Sunday, expected to be around 140km, on the same lap-course used for the individual and team trial races.

Three more medals came in from up the coast in the canoeing code… Greg Louw, Tiffany Kruger (both K1 200m) and Calvin Mokoto (C1 200m) got gold, gold and silver respectively in their events.

Our netballers continued their unbeaten streak with an 83-5 thrashing of hapless hosts Mozambique and by all accounts had it been for better refereeing it could have been a whole lot worse.

On the down side our basketballers opened their Games campaign on the receiving end of an 88-35 hiding at the hands of Cape Verde Islands.