By Mark Etheridge
South Africa have gone down in their opening two matches at the World Junior Championships in Lima, Peru.
The youngsters lost 5-0 to both Cuba and Spain in their Group 2C section.
Against Spain, none of the matches went three sets but it was a closer affair in the Cuban clash.
There it was Ruan Snyman who took Bryan Veliz Arbolay to three sets before going down 21-11 19-21 21-12. And then Michael Jennings and Brandon Nel teamed up in the men’s doubles to push Angel Herrera Rodrigues and Arbolay 21-12 19-21 21-17 in a match lasting 32 minutes, the longest match involving the South Africans thus far.
National coach Chris Dednam told Road to Rio 2016 from the Peruvian capital: ‘The guys and girls are very nervous in their games and made a lot of unforced errors.
‘This comes with not being completely match fit as we cannot play a lot on this level due to the long distances to international tournaments and the lack of funding for Junior High Performance. But this mental part of the game will improve as the week goes on and with the team gaining more experience.’
There were also some injury concerns in the South African camp.
‘Nita Scholtz went over her ankle against Cuba, but finished her game,’ said Dednam. ‘She also played against Spain, but I will give her a rest against the very tough Thailand team on Thursday.
‘There are still a lot of games to come where we need her and where she can gain experience.’