The South African athletics team kickstarted the African Union Sports Council Region V Games on a high note on Tuesday, scooping up a total of 16 medals at the Gaborone capital.
Team SA’s athletics team bagged seven golds, eight silvers and one bronze medal on their first day of competition.
Two golds came from our athletes with a disability. Daniel Briers-Louw achieved a gold medal in the 100m T13 event, while Chane Hendrick won gold in the 100m T12 men event. A silver medal went to Marie van Wyk, who took part in the women’s 100m T13, while the other silver went to Matthew Migels in the 100m T11 men’s event.
Paralympics team manager, Lappies Swanepoel, was impressed with the performance of the athletes.
‘Our athletes have performed very well on the first day of competition. I’m impressed with their positive energy and I hope that their great enthusiasm continues throughout the rest of the competition.’
Moving on to able-bodied athletics, the team managed to obtain a total of five golds and five silver medals for Team SA.
In the field events, Ignatius Marais secured a gold medal in the men’s discus with a throw of 58.81, while Kayle Blignaut won silver with a throw of 54.83. For the girls, Collet Uys and Meike Strydom achieved gold and silver medals with throws of 43.46 and 41.96 respectively. In the men’s high jump, Sifiso Miya won a gold medal with a jump of 7.75.
In the track events, Carmie Prinsloo won a silver medal in the women’s 1500m. In the 100m men’s event, Silusapho Dingiswayo got gold with a finishing time of 10.36, while Temba Monareng achieved the silver medal with a time of 10.46.
In the girls 100m event, Nicola van der Merwe came out victorious and won gold with a time of 11.88. Rose Xeyi took the silver medal after finishing at 12.03.
With Team SA taking first and second place in most of the events, team manager for the able-bodied athletes, Tshifhiwa Makhoshi, was happy with the team’s performance.
‘The team’s performance was very good, our athletes were either gold or silver medallisst in most events,’ said Makhoshi. ‘Athletes have acclimatised to the heat and a big thank you to our medical team – physiotherapists and doctors who are doing a great job ensuring that the athletes are well taken care of.’
Meanwhile, the South African swimming team wrapped up yet another successful AUSC Region V Games on Tuesday with a resounding 62 medals– 32 golds, 26 silver and one bronze– beating the previous Games record in 2016 Angola where they won 57 medals.
Going into the final day of competition, the swimming team had already collected 48 medals and added a last day count of 14 medals. The big squad of swimmers have thus far contributed most of the medals for Team SA at the 2018 Games.
Coming to volleyball, the boys team drew the curtains down in Gaborone with a silver medal after winning against Lesotho in their group, while Botswana took the gold medal after winning all their matches against their opponents.
Commenting on the team’s performance, Coach Kelvin Marian said, ‘ Overall the team performed well. However, we would have done better if we had more time to assemble as a team and train together.’
On a highly competitive day, the South African boys’ football team lost 2-1 to Tanzania, concluding their participation at the Games. Tanzania had a better tactical approach, while on the other hand, though Team SA tried their best, they missed a lot of chances, which resulted in their elimination.
Football men’s team manager, Vela Khumalo said, ‘ Its disappointing that we didn’t qualify to the next level. The boys displayed a good performance, but there is room for improvement. We met the boys at the holding camp and had no chance to have a proper camp together in order to make the team sync well in their play. Perhaps next time it would be better to have a camp [beforehand] so that we improve on coordination of the team.’
In the boxing ring, our boy’s team of Lwazi Ngeba and Sakhile Hlatshwayo competed in the semi-finals in the 52kgs and 60kgs events respectively on Wednesday, while the girls will be going straight to the finals.
In tennis, an additional gold medal was added for Team SA in the mixed doubles event. In the team event South Africa played against Botswana, won 4-0 and will proceed to play against Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
The para-athletics events will continue on Wednesday, as well as boxing, basketball men and female teams, athletics for the able-bodied as well as the netball finals.
Photo: Team SA swimming athletes pose for a picture on the podium at the Region V Games, supplied.