By Mark Etheridge
in Nanjing, China
Team South Africa are still awaiting their first medal after day one of the 2nd Youth Olympic Games here on Sunday.
After Jayme-Sue Vermaas ended 18th in the girls’ triathlon in the morning, and Alex Limberg and Maia Rawlins failed to progress in the mountain bike XCE, there was SA action in gymnastics, swimming, hockey and tennis.
Muhammad Khaalid Mia was our only artistic men’s gymnast here and he ended up 17th of 21 competitors. His total for the six apparatus in the qualifying event came to 68.300.
‘To be honest, we were expecting a score of around the 74 mark,’ said coach Derek Scholtz, ‘but realistically three days were not enough to prepare adequately for his competition and that, together with the humidity got to him.
‘The flag-bearing maybe wasn’t ideal the evening before competition but having said that everything has been just top notch here, from facilities to SASCOC’s facilitating absolutely everything we’ve needed.
‘Its been an amazing competition and the experience will be invaluable to him, going forward.’
Later in the evening, action moved to the Natotorium, with its impressive pool area. But the SA swimmers were unable to come up with the team’s first medal and only one was in finals action. That was Marlies Ross, who was part of the SA team at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
She raced the 200m Individual Medley. Going in with a 2:15.45 qualifier in the morning, she started the final in lane five. After the first leg she was fourth in 29.16, but dropped back to end seventh in 2:15.25 marginally quicker than her morning time.
But reaching the final was young Jarred Crous in the 100m breaststroke semi-final. He started in lane three and after lying second at halfway he ended up third in 1:02.30. That was the fourth fastest qualifying time and he has booked his place in the final.
Not so lucky was Christopher Reid in the 100m backstroke semi-finals. He was slowest off the starting blocks and ended up fifth in his race with a time of 55.99. That ended up being joint ninth quickest, just one position away from the finals.
In tennis action, the team’s only player, Lloyd Harris won his first match in straight sets. Playing out at the Tennis Academy Court he beat American Alexander Rybakov 7-6 6-4 in a match that lasted two hours and nine minutes.
In the frenetic five-a-side form of hockey played here at the Youth Olympics, both our boys’ and girl’s sides were in action.
The boys went down 5-1 to Canada, with Nqobile Ntuli netting SA’s only goal. The women then failed to trouble the scorers as they went down 12-0 to Japan.