First Team SA squads arrive in Accra

Team SA’s badminton and table tennis squads, along with the medical staff and members of general management, arrived in Accra on Thursday, ahead of the 13th African Games which... Read more
First Team SA squads arrive in Accra

Team SA’s badminton and table tennis squads, along with the medical staff and members of general management, arrived in Accra on Thursday, ahead of the 13th African Games which take place from 8-23 March, reports GARY LEMKE.

The temperature was a muggy 33 deg C when their SAA flight roughed down after 3pm local time. They were met by a pre-delegation that included chef de mission Patience Shikwambana.

“I want to welcome each and one of you and wish you a successful and enjoyable competition,”s she told the new arrivals.

There are eight badminton players and eight table tennis competitors who will be first in action and they have a couple of days to prepare and acclimatise.

In total there are 213 athletes representing Team SA across 18 sports.

At the last African Games held in Rabat, Morocco, in 2019 they achieved a total of 86 medals (36 gold, 26 silver and 24 bronze) across 11 different sporting codes, finishing fourth on the medals table.

Ms Shikwamba noted that while this Team SA squad doesn’t pack the all-round experience of previous ones – owing largely to the close proximity of the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics – she said that it showed the depth that the country has.

“This is a great opportunity for some of the new faces to make themselves and their country proud. They have worked hard to get to this prestigious competition and they know that they are also ambassadors for South Africa. I am confident that Team SA will again excel at these Games,” she said.

The sports with the most representatives in the team competing in Ghana are athletics (38), hockey (36 involving the men and women), 29 from cricket (also men’s and women’s teams), 23 from swimming and nine from karate.

These are be the eighth African Games attended by Team SA, having returned from isolation to be at the 1995 installment in Harare.

For the first time at an African Games arm wrestling and cricket (men and women) are on the programme.

Eight other sporting codes (athletics, badminton, cycling, swimming, table tennis, tennis, triathlon and wrestling) are Paris 2024 Olympic qualification events.

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