South Africa had competitors in action in just two codes on Sunday (21 August), the final day of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Here is how they fared.
Men’s marathon, Lusapho April ended 24th (2hr 15min 24sec), Sibusiso Nzima 97th in 2:25:33 and Lungile Gongqa failed to finish
In a nutshell: The South African trio will not be happy with their performances. All were well off their personal bests although, April, who spent some time in Rio acclimatising to conditions, was well-placed in the lead bunch until the business end of the race. He went on to be 6:40 off the pace as fellow African, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won in 2:08.44.
Men’s mountain bike (cross-country), James Reid was given a -3lap finish classification (failing to complete the event) and Alan Hatherly ended 26th
In a nutshell: Reid was clearly not 100% after a crash in training but Hatherly can hold his head high as he ended 8min 35sec off the winning time posted by super Swiss rider Nino Schurter. Hatherly is still a relative baby at this level and still rising through the ranks after representing South Africa at the African Youth Games in Botswana two years ago and winning gold. He’s only 20 years old… none of the top 10 finishers in Rio were that young and in fact eight of the top 10 were aged 25 or older. His time will come.
Team South Africa head home having notched up their best medal-return since re-admission to the Olympics in Barcelona 1992. They won 10 medals (two gold, six silver and two bronze) to place 30th on the final medals table as the United States ran away at the top with 121, almost double the tally off second-placed Great Britain (67). ME
Picture of April in action on Sunday courtesy of Christiaan Kotze