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Brennan flies the flag

By Mark Etheridge

Durban beach-boy Ryan Brennan led Team South Africa into the Main Stadium as the 2009 World Games finally got underway in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan on  Thursday.

The Games got underway in spectacular and sweltering fashion as the 105 participating countries slowly made their way into the spotlight.

It was a long and arduous night with teams spending close to six hours on their feet but the spectacle was devoured by 40,000 screaming fans in the stadium and thousands on the team’s route to the stadium.

The temperature read 29 degrees Celcius on the stadium clock and with the humidity high, conditions were extreme to put it mildly.

But Brennan was all smiles! A key part of the lifesaving section of the team, he picked up a bronze medal at the last version of the games in Duisberg, Germany four years ago.

“It was a huge surprise to be chosen as the flag-bearer,” said the 25-year-old. “I was actually thinking of retiring quite soon because business pressure (he owns a clothing company) was getting too much.

“But I guess this puts a bit of pressure on me to carry on performing. This must rank as just about the highlight of my sporting career so far.”

Brennan was due to get back into training less than 12 hours after the parade but thankfully the lifesaving competition is only at the tail-end of the competition.

Orienteers Tania Wimberley and Nicholas Mulder were the first South Africans in action Friday with little bodybuilder Johannes Hendrik due to strut his stuff on Saturday and Sunday.

The women’s tug-of-war team will be in action on Sunday.