By Mark Etheridge
in Brazzaville, Congo
As competition started picking up at the 2015 African Games here on Thursday, Team South Africa came close to picking up their first medal.
Fencing was the second sport to feature for SA and it was African Championships medallist Juliana Barrett who just missed out in the epee class.
Said team manager Randall Daniels: ‘It was oh so close. She was fighting Egypt’s Mahdy, who is ranked second in Africa.
‘It was all square and then the contest went into sudden death and she missed out by just a single point.’
Of the other South African women in epee action, Giselle Vicatos lost to her Tunisian opponent, a fencer ranked fifth in the world.
Earlier, a frustrating schedule had seen Vicatos up against fellow South African Aphiwe Tuku, a clash which she won. And the fourth girl in the epee division, Tamryn Carfoot also went out in the top 16 tier.
Men’s foil saw Robert McGregor winning his first round but then also going out. ‘We’re not really that great in the foil event,’ says Daniels. ‘But our real hopes of medals will come in the women’s epee, we’ve got a great team here.’
The team competition gets underway on Sunday.
Badminton (see team above) continued as well with South Africa winning their second successive match. After beating Kenya 5-0 on Wednesday, Thursday saw them beating Egypt 4-1.
In the singles Jacob Maliekal won in three sets, the men’s and women’s doubles also came out tops, while the only loss was Elme de Villiers who lost to Hadia Hosney, an opponent who has Olympic Games experience.
The team now play Uganda in the quarter-finals.
The Games’ opening ceremony was scheduled to take place early on Friday evening.
Meanwhile the boxing code is showing signs of progress with technical meetings to sort out draws etc and competition should hopefully start on Sunday.
Swimming will also start their five days of competition on Sunday.