By Mark Etheridge
in Gaborone, Botswana
Team South Africa’s medal count has rocketed through the 50-barrier here on Wednesday ÔÇô even better, they’re now just four shy of Tunisia’s winning medal count from the 2010 Games in Morocco.
The team started the day with 46 medals in the bag and at the end of the day ÔÇô another three more medal-winning days lie ahead ÔÇô nailed another eight to the board in four different codes.
The medal tally now reads 54.
Let’s look at the victorious codes on Wednesday.
First two medals of the day came on the brown waters of the Gaborone Dam where Donna Hutton and Ryno van der Westhuyzen took golds in the K1 sprint discipline.
Hutton, a product of Epworth School in Pietermaritzburg, beat her Tunisian opponent easily enough, recording a time of 1min 58sec to her rival’s 2:08.
Said code manager Debbie Bird: “At one point it got a bit hairy but then Donna picked up the pace and moved clear.” Hutton has already qualified for the Youth Olympic Games in China later this year where she will be SA’s only canoeing representative.
In the boys K1 final it was Ryno van der Westhuyzen who added another gold when he beat the Senegal boat in the final. “Ryno paddled a 1:45 and the Sengalese chap was home in 1:56. Ryno was very quick out of the the start and I actually think that when the Senegal guy saw that he was beaten he slowed down a bit.”
All four of our paddlers will be involved in slalom heat action on the dam on Thursday with finals scheduled for Friday.
Then it was over to the Boipuso Hall where the karate code kickstarted their campaign.
Natalie Faint was first in action in the kata category where karataka go through a pre-detemined routine of moves against an imaginary opponent.
The Capetonian was in contention for bronze but came up short against her Algerian opponent.
But Silvio Cerone-Biagioni from Fourways, picture right, got the code’s medal count up and running when he took bronze versus his Algerian opponent in the kata category. Apparently his father is also no mean exponent of the kata movements.
Then it was Yashveer Jugoo who was in the kumite category which features non-stop two-minute per round action. He lost both his gumguard and his bout against his Zimbabwe opponent in the -55kg division.
Kumite action then saw Nico Papachrysostomou take the team’s second bronze in the -61kg weight division and Minet Uys added a third bronze in the kumite (-61kg).
Coach Hans Britz’s heaviest charge punched his way to this code’s second medal of the Games and it was a glorious day for the pugilists as Azinga Fuzile grabbed the second medal for this code ÔÇô in the 60kg division.
He beat a Moroccan opponent in the gold medal bout. “It was a very hard and technical fight but we ended up winning a unanimous points decision,” said Britz. “This win and the gold medal will be very good for his self-confidence going forward.
There was also the bronze medal awards ceremony for Edwin Tshabalala who had won his medal in the 49kg category a day previously.
Last medal of the day went to Yolandi Stander in the girl’s shot put at the national stadium.
The reigning SA junior champion hurled the sphere 15.72 metres for the gold medal.
But first medal of this code went to Germiston giant Jason van Rooyen in the boys’ discus as he threw a 54.31m effort which was good for bronze.
“It was quite unexpected as I’m actually a shot put athlete and last threw discus about two months ago,” he said. “I was second going into the final round but it’s still great to get a medal… now for the shot put final tomorrow.”
It wasn’t an auspicious start to the athletics code with heaps of confusion about how many athletes from one country were eligible for each event with officials being vague until the morning of the actual event. Electronic timing was also a stop-start affair during the day
In heat action Free Stater Ronald Rakaku won his 100m heat and one-lap exponent Bryan Myeni from KwaZulu-Natal had an impressive 48.9 (hand-timed) win in the second of three heats over 400m.
The team had two long-jumpers in the shape of Madaus Banda and Jesse Perez but because it was a straight final only one SA competitor was allowed. That nod went to Banda and Perez went on to jump 7.29m in the B final. Banda, who told coaching staff that he had an ankle problem, failed to record a legitimate jump.
Other codes in action (although not winning medals on the day) were:
Kyle McClatchie continued to set the pace at Gaborone Golf Club on Wednesday.
McClatchie added a round of 71 to his first day 66 to return a total of 137.
That sees him leading team-mate Hennie du Plessis by six shots after Du Plessis carded a 72 to go with his first round 71. Seventeen boys are chasing the gold medal.
In the girls’ action, Eleonora Galletti improved on her first round score by three shots as she went into the clubhouse with a total of 155. That sees her hold down fourth spot.
Shawnelle de Lange also improved from an 83 to an 81 to card 164 and sixth spot out of 10 competitors.
There was extra reason for team celebration as McClatchie found time to enjoy a chocolate cake bought by manager Helena Buitendag to mark the teenager’s 17th birthday on Wednesday.
“The greens were a bit faster today so it was even tricker for the team,” said Buitendag.
“In the team competition we have a total of 292 and lead Nigeria by 10 shots. Both the individual and team competition wraps up tomorrow.”
This code won four of six quarter-final matches at the National Tennis Centre.
There were victories in one singles, two doubles and one mixed doubles encounters.
Janet Koch beat her Tunisian opponent 6-7 6-3-6-1. In boys’ doubles action Richard Thongoana and Kris van Wyk teamed up to beat Lesotho 7-5 7-5.
The all-girl combo of Koch and Sarah Sarjoo then whitewashed Benin 6-0 6-0 and Koch then teamed up with Van Wyk to beat Nigeria 7-6 7-6.
Picture: Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA