South African swimmers secured 32 medals in their two days of competition at the African Union Region 5 Games in Gaborone, Botswana. The national anthem rang out 18 times during the sessions of finals that saw team SA bagging 18 golds and 14 silvers this weekend.
The cherry on top was when some SA swimmers managed to break records at the Games. Ethan du Preez completed the men’s 200m butterfly with a record time of 2:01:17, while Youth Olympic medallist Michael Houlie finished the 100m breaststroke in a record 1:02:09.
In the women’s 50m breaststroke, Lara van Niekerk touched at 31.93, and Aimee Canny in the 100m freestyle finished at 56:64. The mixed relay team in the 4×100 freestyle broke a record by finishing at 3:42:78.
SA swimming team manager, Mafata Modutoane said, ‘The swimmers are in good shape and have performed very well this weekend. Their hard work is surely paying off, evidenced by the excellent results so far. It is our hope that we achieve more in the next two days of competition.’
South Africa is currently still leading the medal table with a total of 612 points, followed by Zimbabwe sitting on 317 points.
In the football SA camp, the girls’ team won 2-0 against Swaziland. Following an interruption of the football match by a bad storm on Saturday at the 32nd minute, the same match resumed from the 33rd minute on Sunday against Swaziland at the University of Botswana stadium.
The girls showed consistent good form and dominated the match, leading them to a clean win of 2-0 against their opponents. The men’s football team also won 1-0 against Angola.
Still on Sunday, the netball girls breezed even closer to a medal as they picked up two wins at the University Courts venue. First they swept past the hosts Botswana to the tune of 81-19 and then beat Lesotho 82-37. The girls managed to display great netball skills throughout the match and maintained a good play in both matches leading to their victory.
These weekend wins will add to victories against Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. On Monday the SA girls team will battle it out against Namibia.
The first day of volleyball action witnessed a stunning win by the SA boys team, 3-1 against Namibia, while the basketball girls’ team also won their match with a score of 39-22 against the host, Botswana.
In tennis, competition continued on Sunday and Team SA will be proceeding to the finals for both singles and doubles on Monday.
Day five at the Region V Games, Team SA will be in action in swimming, netball, woman’s football, men’s volleyball, tennis and men’s basketball.
Photo: SA swimmers top the podium at the swimming medal ceremony, supplied