Team South Africa returned victorious from last month’s African Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria, winning 26 medals for the rainbow nation.
Approximately 3,300 athletes from 54 African countries were in attendance, competing in 30 sporting codes.
The multi-code event hosted athletes in the 14-18 year age bracket, to help contribute to the development of African sport and the growth of Olympic values.
Six of the 30 sports at the African Youth Games were offering Youth Olympic Games qualification, with athletics, beach volleyball, hockey fives, rowing, archery and rugby sevens providing places.
The South African team participated in four sporting codes, namely archery, hockey fives, rugby sevens and athletics and performed very well in all of them.
In archery, Wian Roux was able to earn a provisional spot for the country by making it to the boys’ final.
However, the decision of whether to accept the quota places, allowing an archer to compete at the Youth Olympics is yet to be made by the national governing body.
The rugby sevens team were able to secure the sole spot available for the boys, after they beat Namibia in the finals. Mauritius took third.
The hockey teams sent out a signal of dominance as both the male and female U17 outfits won gold.
South Africa’s Peter Jarvis and Angela Welham were top scorers for the code with 12 and 14 goals respectively.
‘The AYG was a great outing for the SA girls, we knew we had a massive task ahead of us and that no team was going to make it easy for us,’ said head hockey coach Tsoanelo Pholo.
‘We did what we had to do and we’re incredibly happy to have qualified for the Youth Olympic Games,’ he continued.
In athletics, the SA team had an impressive performance in their different events and were able to collect six gold medals, five silver and two bronze.
‘Winning gold was not easy but we pulled through,’ said coach Dorah Mngwevu. ‘What I’m most proud of are the bronze and silver medals we got because we were competing against countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and Nigeria who are really dominating in the athletics. That means the team really pushed themselves.’
Lesotho has been officially confirmed as the host country for the 2022 African Youth Games, which will take place in the capital city of Maseru.
Photo: Team SA members celebrating in Algiers, supplied