By Mark Etheridge
in Nanjing, China
A first medal continued to elude Team South Africa after two days of competition at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
Monday afternoon action saw the women’s hockey side playing their second match in the frenetically paced five-a-side format at the Olympic Sports Centre.
Beaten 12-0 by Japan in their opening Pool A encounter on the opening day, the South Africans looked loathe to go on the attack against Argentina and more content to limit the damage.
To that end they kept the score down to single figures, conceding three, four and two goals in each of the 12-minute periods of play.
And indication of the state of play was that the South Africans’ first truly clear shot at goal came in the third quarter when Cheneal Raubenheimer’s rasping shot was saved by the ‘keeper.
At the other end, Buhle Zondi was the busiest player on the bright blue astro-turf and the score could well have been higher than in the first game had it not been for her many superb saves.
Said captain Natalie Esteves, pictured above, afterwards: ‘We were slightly more relaxed than for our first game but it’s still hard work. We’ve only had one training camp together and the Argentinian girls have played together so much more.
‘They also just had so much more possession than us which put us under continual pressure. Our next game will be against Fiji who are in a similar boat to us. They were beaten 22-0 by Argentina.’
For his part coach Bongani ‘Paddy’ Tshuthani said: ‘We just have to work on improvement and working on our processes.
‘We let in two or three soft goals but in terms of improvement we were better tonight. This is a real pool of death and tomorrow’s game against Fiji is a must-win game if we are to have any hope of making the quarters.’
In the pool, Team SA swimmers made more finals but aren’t threatening the podium places.
Four were in finals action in the evening’s action. Joshua Steyn took fifth in the 200m freestyle final with a time of 1min 50.06sec, giving him the highest placed finish of the night for South Africa. Sixth spot in the 100m breastsroke final went to Jarred Crous (1:02.17).
And the evening rounded off with two seventh spots in the men’s 200m Individual Medley Final (Christopher Reid 2:04.43) and the women’s 4x100m Medley Relay final where Justine Macfarlane, Marlies Ross, Nathania van Niekerk and Michelle Weber combined for a time of 4:15.44.
Our sailors also cruised into action out on Lake Jinniu. Both are in the One-Person Dinghy category and races were sailed in light winds. Calvin Gibbs ended 15th and 20th in his first two races (in fields of 28 and 29 respectively) while Megan Robertson was 25th (28) and 20th (28) in her two events.
Pictures by Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA. Pictures of Team South Africa’s campaign at the 2014 Youth Olympics are free for downloading on www.sascocimages.co.za.