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Basketball wins and there’s guaranteed judo gold for SA

By Mark Etheridge
in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

It was a good morning for Team South Africa on Monday as the African Union Region 5 Games moved into its first day of competition proper after the previous day’s opening ceremony.
The basketball girls comfortably accounted for Botswana at the ZITF (Zimbabwe International Trade Fair) Hall.
They won 56-34 at Hall 3, after leading 23-11 halfway through. This, after going down to Angola in their first fixture on Saturday.
Chief points scorer for the girls in green and gold was No2 Neo Mbamba with 14 points while Keitumetse Molosane also got into double figures with 10 points of her own.
Going into the final quarter 42-17 to the good, the South Africans looked confident of victory but the Botswana girls fought back well to shade the stanza (14-17).
Afterwards, coach Suzan Maleho said: ‘It was a good game. The girls worked well together, especially on defence. And they came back well in the second quarter after I had called a time-out and I think that turned things around.
‘We had let Botswana run the floor and gave them chances. Now for Zimbabwe who we play next and I expect a tough game there as well.’
Meanwhile, over at Hall 4 the SA judo players were making sure that their code would bring the first medals clattering into the Team SA treasure chest.
The SA players were involved in no less than 23 fights as the code looked to wrap up their action in the space of a day.
Five players are definite gold medallists, with only the formality of a final bout in the afternoon session to come.
They are Janko Strydom (U100kg), Chris Golding (U90), James Seccombe (U81), Courtney Reid (U78) and Kayla Cameron (U70).
A whole host of other SA fighters are still in with gold, silver and bronze chances and it looks a formality that after the day’s action in the various codes that Team South Africa’s medal tally would be into double figures.
At the last Games in Lusaka, Zambia, Team South Africa won a total of 138 medals.
The chase to better that is on in all earnest.