After seven days of action, Team South Africa started the day with 26 medals in the bag, 10 of them gold. Here’s what happened on Thursday, 12 April as they went digging for more gold.
Men’s T12 100m, Round One: Hilton Langenhoven and Jonathan Ntutu won their respective heats to progress to the final. Both flew out the blocks and never looked like getting caught. Langenhoven’s 11.27 was a season’s best for him, while Ntutu’s victory in 10.80 was a Games record and a season’s best.
Final: Jonathan Ntutu blitzed to South Africa’s first gold medal of the day, leading from start to finish in a time of 11.02. He was followed across the line a quarter of a second later by fellow South African Hilton Langenhoven to make it a 1-2 for the rainbow nation. ‘I just focused on getting out of the blocks quickly,’ said Ntutu, who wanted to play cricket as a youngster but switched to athletics as he had difficulty seeing the ball. ‘I tried to stay calm and not think about emulating my race this morning. Aaah the feeling of winning gold is awesome, awesome although it will probably only really sink in later.’ Ntutu said they had been extra motivated after Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies had won gold and silver in the men’s 100m earlier in the week. ‘We definitely also wanted to get 1-2 for South Afria as well here,’ he said.’ As for Langenhoven: ‘Gold and silver from Akani and Henricho was something special for South Africa and it gave us goosebumps. We were convinced we’d get gold and silver but just didn’t know what order,’ he laughed. ‘It’s something lovely that Jonny and I will be able to sit down and chat about one day.’ It’s his second silver medal, having also won silver (in the 400m) in Melbourne 12 years ago.
Women’s 800m, Heats: Using the race to shake the 1500m efforts out of her legs, having won gold in that event, Semenya cruised into the final and dipped under two minutes at the same time, crossing the line in 1:59.26. She was the fastest qualifier heading into Friday night’s final.
Women’s 400m hurdles, Final: Wenda Nel raced to her first Commonwealth Games medal, making up for the disappointment of being disqualified in the final in Glasgow, Scotland four years ago. She took bronze in 54.96, a bit slower than her time in the heat. Jamaica’s Janieve Russell won in 54.33 with Eilidh Doyle of Scotland second in 54.80, her second successive Games silver medal. ‘The tears will come,’ said Nel afterwards. ‘But they’ll be tears of joy. I just raced for that line. I went out very hard because I wanted to push my body as much as I can. It wasn’t a perfect race but I still finished strongly, even though I nearly fell at that last hurdle… not a nice feeling!’
Men’s 200m final: Clarence Munyai was a shadow of the man who looked a million dollars in the heat and even in the semi-final after he had slowed drastically in the closing stages. He was never really in contention for a medal and ended fifth in 20.58 in a race won by Englishman Zarnel Hughes (20.12). ‘I hurt my hamstring a bit in the semi and it’s very painful now… and those guys were very quick tonight. I’m just happy to reach and finish my first major international 200m final.’
Women’s doubles, Round of 16: South Africa’s Michelle Butler-Emmett and Elmé de Villiers ended the rainbow nation’s campaign in this code at the Games. They went down 2-0 (21-9 21-9) to Thilini Pramodka and Kavidi Sirimannage of Sri Lanka, with all the action over in 22 minutes. Credit to the South Africans for putting up as much of a fight as they did as De Villiers was taking strain from an injured ankle.
Women’s Pairs, Quarter-finals: South Africa’s Nicolene Neal and Colleen Piketh had a close 14-12 win over Sophie Tolchard and Natalie Chesney. For much of the mid-section of the game they played second fiddle and at one stage were 11-5 down at the 13th end. It was all square at 11-11 at the 16th. Three shots picked up a the next end were enough to get them over the line.
Men’s Fours, Section B, Round 5: South Africa’s Gerry Baker, Jason Evans, Rudi Jacobs and Morgan Muvhango) were on the wrong end of a lop-sided 27-6 scoreline against Australia. Down 3-0 after the first end there was no stage that they managed to even pull level as Australia won going away after 14 ends.
Men’s singles, Quarter-finals: Petrus Breitenbach went down to Ryan Bester as the Canadian won 21-9. Breitenbach was first on the scoring board but by the 12th end he was already 14-5 in arrears and failed to get out double figures.
Mixed B6/B7/B7 Bronze medal match: Another bronze medal came South Africa’s way as Tobias Botha, Willem Viljoen, Christopher Patton beat their English opponents. It was only on the fifth end that SA took the lead and they went on to win 16-13 as they were never headed after that juncture.
Women’s Pairs, Semi-final A: Colleen Piketh and Nicolene Neal combined to beat Scotland and book their place in the final and the chance to win gold. Down 4-0 after the third they moved into the lead at the 10th and were never headed from that point onwards.
Women’s mountain bike (cross-country): South Africa’s Mariske Strauss and Cherie Redecker finished seventh and 11th respectively on the testing Naranga Forest Course. Strauss ended 4min 48sec behind England’s gold medallist, Annie Last, the same rider who partnered her in the recent Cape Epic seven-day event. Germany-based Redecker punctured fairly early on and was never able to make up the lost ground and was +10:52 back. This is a brutal, unforgiving sport, and both South Africans were reduced to tears afterward as the race stress drained from them. Said Strauss: ‘I had a terrible start so I think I pushed a bit hard and ended up going too deep and struggled. It was a tough day out but we’ll keep on fighting.’ Strauss raced the gruelling Cape Epic seven-day event which ended less than three weeks ago and says she may have felt it. ‘Yeah, the legs were a little bit fried as it’s been a long month’s racing. But still, well done to all the winners today.’ For Redecker there was both sadness and happiness. ‘I had a great start, was feeling amazing. I had good rhythm and was catching the girls but then on the second lap and quite far out, I got a puncture. I plugged it and bombed it but not hard enough and it was softening so team mechanic JP Jacobs changed my wheel very quickly. I tried to relax and catch but just couldn’t close that gap. But the support was amazing. I’ve rediscovered my love and joy for this sport now that I’m more settled in Germany. I have to thank the incredible support from my coach, family, friends, Team SA, SASCOC, Cycling SA and manager Erica Green – they’ve all been brilliant. Now it’s back to Germany and then back to Egypt for the African Championships next weekend.’
Men’s mountain bike (cross-country): Alan Hatherly rode his way to South Africa’s first ever Commonwealth Games medal when he ended third to take bronze in a titantic struggle against a powerhouse New Zealand team. Kiwi Sam Gaze, the man who beat Hatherly into silver at last year’s World U23 MTB cross-country championships, did it again, his time 1hr 17min 36sec. Fellow New Zealander Anton Cooper was given the same time and Hatherly was 20sec down. Cooper was defending Games champion. Hatherly, the 2014 African Youth Games champion, went into the race on the back of a race-to-fitness, having broken his arm as recently as February. ‘Wow, I’m so stoked with this,’ said the normally reserved 22-year-old. ‘Obviously I was aiming for a medal but to get a medal at this level is huge, racing the best in the world. It’s a super hard course! I was racing with Anton and around halfway Sam had a bit of problem and lost probably 5sec but he was chasing hard and although I tried to go harder on the descents my arms were taking a bit of strain and when he came back past I didn’t get in the way, out of respect and also knowing that he had a big medal chance and I wasn’t right on Anton’s wheel at the time. Also, in the World Cup we’re teammates at Specialized Racing so I didn’t want to be THAT guy who held him up.’ Like Redecker, Hatherly heads to Egypt for next weekend’s African championships but first thanked the team who got him here. ‘Obviously thanks to the family, my girlfriend, Jade Sanders, my mechanic JP Jacobs, Team Spur, Team SA and everyone who played a part in this medal.’
Rhythmic, Individual All-Around Final: Grace Legote ended 13th in a field of 16 with a score of 42.900 and compatriot Chris-Marie van Wyk was 16th with a tally of 36.500. Legote’s best score came in the ribbons with a 11.400 and Van Wyk’s best routine was the hoop where she scored 10.00.
Fifth/Sixth place play-off: Fifth! South Africa stretched away in the final quarter to secure fifth spot at these Games when they beat Uganda 53-42. There had only been four goals in it approaching the final quarter, but South Africa put their foot on the accelerator, to win the quarter 14-7 and end with an 11-goal victory. Uganda had fought back in the second quarter, to edge it 15-13, which left SA up 24-22 at halftime. However, they got stronger as the match progressed to run out comfortable winners. Ine-Mari Venter couldn’t do anything wrong, converting 42 of her 46 attempts into goals, while Maryka Holtzhausen (11 from 12) was the other player on the scoresheet.
PARA TABLE TENNIS
Men’s TT6-10 Singles, Group 2: Theo Cogill enjoyed an easy 3-0 win over home favourite Barak Mizrachi. Cogill was always in command and won 11-4, 11-3, 11-6. At no stage was he any further than one point behind and cashed in on Mizrachi’s service game, taking 19 points off the Australian’s serve.
Queen’s Prize Individual Finals: Petrus Haasbroek ended seventh with a score of 253-32V-Bulls with compatriot Jacobus du Toit 20th with a tally of 249-21. After two days of shooting, Australia’s Jim Bailey continues to make the running. He leads with a score of 255-37.
Men’s Freestyle 74kg 1/8 Final: Johannes Botha reached the semi-finals when he beat Abdulai Salam, of Sierra Leone, on technical superiority, 12 points to 2.
Men’s Freestyle 74kg 1/4 Final: Botha continued his strong form with an impressive technical superiority win by him. At the end of the contest he was 10-0 ahead over Wales’ Curtis Dodge.
Men’s Freestyle 74kg Semi-final: And it’s gold or silver for Botha, who reached the final with a fall victory over Nigeria’s Ebiniemfaghe Assizecourt, after having an 11-8 technical points lead at the time. He takes on Indian Kumar Sushil in the final.
Men’s Freestyle 74kg Final: It was one-way traffic in the final and unfortunately for South Africa, it all went against Botha. Sushil was far too good on the night and raced into a 10-0 lead in the first period which meant the contest was halted. Still, it’s a silver for Botha.
Men’s freestyle (57kg) Quarter-final: Richards Bay strongman Kleinjan Combrinck went down 6-1 on points to Canadian opponent Steven Takahashi
Men’s freestyle (57kg) Repechage, Round 2: Combrinck progressed to the next round with a bye. He will take on Ebikewenimo Welson of Nigeria for the bronze medal.
Men’s freestyle (57kg) Bronze medal: Combrinck went down on points to Welson, losing out 5-2.
Compiled by Mark Etheridge and Gary Lemke
Photo: Netballer Karla Pretorius by Anton Geyser/Gallo Images