There were five different codes representing Team South Africa in Rio on Saturday. Here is a list of how they fared in their respective events.
Men’s Pair (heat 1): Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling finished second behind Australia’s Spencer Turrin and Alexander Lloyd, clocking 6min 41.42sec. Australia timed 6:40.79. The result saw Brittain and Keeling progress to the semi-finals. Overall, Brittain and Keeling qualified second fastest.
Gary Lemke says: Water conditions were choppy and there was a significant cross wind, which didn’t make things easy. Starting in lane four the South Africans quickly moved out into the lead, and being quickest to the 500m mark in 1:32.87, a boat length clear. Australia (lane three) closed approaching the 1000m mark, with both boats virtually side by side as they went through halfway in 3min 18.02sec, with South Africa in 3:18.14. It was a lead Australia didn’t relinquish, hitting 1 500m in 5:02.53 with South Africa 1.31 seconds behind. Brittain and Keeling produced a strong finish, as did the Czech Republic but the Australians held on for the heat win. ‘We’ve got some work to do in the middle of the race through the rough, but not a bad start for us,’ said Brittain.
Fastest qualifiers: 1 Australia 6:40.79, 2 South Africa 6min 41.42, 3 New Zealand 6:41.75, 4 France 6:42.00.
Mark Etheridge says: SA’s rowing duo were happy with their race but the good thing is that they know there’s more in the tank. And Brittain is only going to get better over the next few days before their semi. In the build-up to his race he’d been suffering from sinusitis and verging on a bronchial problem but with the expert help of mom Danielle, who also happens to be a doctor with Team SA, he’s good to go. ‘No problems now, it was all good,’ he says. ‘Most of the favoured teams went through today, New Zealand, Great Britain, France and Italy but the surprises were the Dutch who’ll have to do the repecharge.’ Added Keeling. ‘The boat felt good in the warm-up even in those tricky conditions with the boat moving around but we both know that we can definitely get better. One can’t really judge the boats on the times in these tricky conditions.’
Men’s 400m Individual Medley: Michael Meyer finished fifth in heat two in 4min 18.13sec, and failed to qualify for the final in the evening.
Men’s 400m Individual Medley: Sebastien Rousseau finished seventh in his heat four in 4min 18.72, and failed to qualify for the final in the evening.
Gary Lemke says: Neither South African, based on qualifying times, would have been realistically expected to reach the evening’s final. It is a brutal qualifying format when the fastest eight of 27 entrants go through, straight from heats to the final. Having said that, 23-year-old Meyer came into Rio with a 4:15.71 and swam 2.42sec off that, while the experienced national record holder (4:11.11) Rousseau was 3.97sec off his Rio entry time of 4:14.75. On the day, 4:13.55 was the cut off time for the final. Rousseau’s body language afterwards suggested he was gutted with swim.
Fastest qualifiers: 1 Chase Kalisz (USA) 4:08.12, 2 Daiya Seto (Japan) 4:08.47, 3 Kasuke Hagino (Japan) 4:10.00, 17 Michael Meyer (RSA) 4:18.13, 21 Sebastien Rousseau 4:18.72
Men’s 400m Freestyle: Myles Brown finished second in heat five in a national record 3:45.92. However, it placed him only 12th on the overall qualifiers and he failed to qualify for the final
Gary Lemke says: No one complains when a swimmer comes to the biggest event of their lives and swims a personal best. Brown swam the race of his career to lead from lane one, setting a cracking pace and leading through the first 250m as he attempted to post a time that would get him into the evening final, where only the fastest eight would qualify. ‘It wasn’t ideal swimming on my own (lane one), and I’d have liked to have been in one of the final two heats but I tried to get out there and rattle the big boys. I struggle in the mornings, but this was a “morning” 2pm swim, and I had time to give my body time to wake up get into the zone. I gave everything I had,’ he said. Indeed he did, and he must be congratulated that amid the disappointment of missing out on an Olympic final, he broke the South African record in trying to get there.
Fastest qualifiers: 1 Conor Dwyer (USA) 4:43.42, 2 Mack Horton (Aus) 3:43.84, 3 Gabriele Detti (Italy) 3.43.95, 12 Myles Brown (RSA) 3:45.92
Men’s 100m Breaststroke (Heat): Cameron van der Burgh finished second in his heat in 59.35 to qualify for the semi-finals in seventh fastest overall.
Gary Lemke says: Van der Burgh will have been aiming for a time in the low 59s and won’t have been phased by being the meat in a Brazilian sandwich. He reached the turn first, as we are accustomed to seeing him do, and did what he had to do get him thought to the evening semi-finals. The Olympic champion knows what he needs to do to reach the final, and, once there, launch an assault on the medals. ‘My time was spot on, no really, it was,’ said the 2012 Olympic champion. ‘I now will go and sit down with my coach and analyse the race and go from there.’ In the heats, the world record holder, world champion and Commonwealth champion, Adam Peaty produced a new world record 57.55 in the last heat. It was a spectacular display and Van der Burgh said, ‘we’ll have to see what he was doing. Congratulations to him, but is he now going to go faster in the semis and the final, or has he gone too early’.
Fastest qualifiers: 1 Adam Peaty (GBR) 57.55 (WR), 2 Yasuhiro Koseki (Japan) 58.91, 3 Felipe Franca 59.01, 7 Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 59.35
Men’s 100m Breaststroke (Semi-finals): Cameron van der Burgh finished second in his heat in 59.35 to qualify for the semi-finals in seventh fastest overall.
Gary Lemke says: Van der Burgh was in the same heat as the man who would be king, Peaty. This semi was important, of that there was no doubt. If Peaty dominated the 2012 Olympic champion, it would have been a hard place to come back from given the eight hours that had taken place. The first semi was won by Koseki, but the time, 59.23, was nothing to write home about. The second semi seemed to be the one that would produce the gold medallist. Peaty was in lane four, Van der Burgh in lane six. Peaty controlled the race, leading from start to finish and winning in 57.62, another exceptional effort. The South African was touched off for second by Cory Miller 59.05 and Van der Burgh timed 59.21, for third. Everyone will be racing for silver and bronze on Sunday; it’s hard to see the young British star losing gold. I’m expecting a world record from him again.
Fastest qualifiers: 1 Adam Peaty (GBR) 57.62, 2 Cody Miller (USA) 59.05, 3 Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 59.21, 4 Yasuhiro Koseki (Japan) 59.23
Artistic Gymnastics, men’s qualification, sub-division 1: Ryan Patterson failed to qualify for the final.
His scores were: Rotation one, Floor (14.30). Rotation two, Pommel (13.03). Rotation three, Rings (13.333). Rotation four, Vault (13.733). Rotation five, Parallel Bars (13.000). Rotation six, Horizontal bar (13.291)
Men’s Road Race (237.5km): Louis Meintjes ended seventh, 22 seconds behind winner Greg van Avermaet of Belgium. He missed out on a podium spot by just 17sec as he made up great ground in the final stages, a mixture of breathtaking climbs and heart-stopping descents. Daryl Impey ended up 28th, +9:38 adrift after doing a lot of work on the front edge of the peloton in the middle stages of the race.
Mark Etheridge says: On one of the toughest Olympic road race courses in the last 30 years, some say it’s the toughest yet, the South African duo can hold their heads high. Meintjes went into the race with an eighth-placed finish at the Tour de France under his belt, while Impey had also had some great finishes. It was a brutal race, with the cobbled section claiming many mechanicals each time the race passed over it and there were also some high speed crashes. The hot weather also played its part over a stunningly scenic course along the Rio coast.
Women’s Group E: South Africa 0 China 2
Banyana Banyana are out of contention for the knockout stages at Rio 2016 after suffering a 2-0 defeat to China at the Olympic stadium on Saturday night.
Read Gary Lemke’s match report here
Image by Christiaan Kotze/SASPA