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Over 100 medals for SA

By Mark Etheridge

Team South Africa’s medal count rocketed past the 100 mark on Friday as the Zone VI Games wound down in Swaziland.

Athletics again accounted for the bulk of them, 11 in total, with the other coming from our tennis players who won the team competition against Botswana, this after cleaning up in both the singles and doubles competition earlier in the competition.

Team South Africa’s medal haul now stands at 101.

Star of the day, indeed the Games one could say, was young Justine Palframan who raced to her fifth gold medal of the Under-20 competition.

On Friday the 16-year-old won the 400-metre flat in 52.88 seconds, a time that looks like being a new SA Under-17 record, provided it is ratified by relevant authorites. It’s comfortably a personal best as well, her previous quickest being 53.72 at the national championships last year.

Later in the day she was part of the victorious 4x400m relay as well although no time was immediately forthcoming after an official had walked in front of the electronic times system as the athletes crossed the line.

Friday’s two medals for the KwaZulu-Natal athlete from Eshowe go nicely with her three other golds in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay events earlier in the week.

“It was terrible,” she reflected after her 400m final, run in temperatures close to 35 degree Celcius. “I really though Sonja [Van der Merwe] had snatched it at the end.”

The day’s other gold medals belonged to Shaun de Jager in the men’s 400m (46.32), Dewald van Heerden in the discus (55.35m) and then in the triple jump where world junior long jump champion Luvo Manyonga added to his long jump gold from Thursday.

Silvers went to Van der Merwe (52.96) in the women’s 400m Dewaldt Minnaar in the visually impaired 400m T13 (55.06) while Charl Grobler threw 50.76 in the discus.

The men’s 4x400m also won silver for Team SA.

Also in the visually impaired category there was silver for Aleesha Gerber who started quickly but faded in the extreme heat to finish with 61.25.

The other medal of the day in athletics belonged to Cape Town’s Valentina da Rocha who took bronze in the triple jump with an 11.70, a distance she was not impressed with.

Boxers Eward Kokame (54kg) and William Bankisi (64kg) are guaranteed a medal for reaching the final of their respective categories but officials embarked on a second consecutive day of strike action and boxing had not got underway close on three hours after the scheduled 5pm start with no results available.

The strike action has not been limited to boxing, with soccer and netball officials joining the “action” during the tournament.

In soccer our men’s team bowed out at the semi-final stage, losing 4-1 to hosts Swaziland in another day of delays.

Our women were scheduled to play Zimbabwe in Friday’s final but after sitting through the scorching conditions as they waited to play will now only play the final on Saturday, the same day as the closing ceremony. Originally the men’s final was the only game scheduled to be played on Saturday