Team South Africa won 35 medals, including 13 gold, at the fifth Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia, Samoa.
In 2008, in Pune, India the team finished fourth, this was bettered in 2011 in the Isle of Man, where the team finished third with 30 medals, eight of them gold.
South Africa jumped to second in Apia with a significant improvement in gold medals, finishing only behind Australia and ahead of the likes of England, Malaysia, India and New Zealand.
The swimming and athletics squads were South Africa’s star performers as they won the most gold medals (six each). The swimming squad contributed the most medals as they secured 25 podium finishes, which included six gold, six silver and 12 bronze medals.
The athletics squad picked up 10 medals, including six gold, one silver and three bronze.
In 2011, it was Australia that claimed gold at the expense of South Africa. This time round, Rugby sevens claimed gold with victory in the final against Australia, bring South Africa’s final medal tally to 35.
Boxing, lawn bowls and tennis who had two athletes in their respective teams failed to medal but produced respectable performances in tough fields. Both tennis players made it to the semi finals and had to withdraw due to illness, as did the lawn bowls team in the mixed pairs.
South Africa’s Chef de Mission Clifford Cobers was delighted with the performances of the team.
‘Our goal for the Commonwealth Youth Games was to equal or better the 30 medals won in the Isle of Man as well as maintain or better the third place achieved in 2011. We exceeded our expectations on both levels finishing with 35 medals and a second place in the overall medals standings.
‘Countries such as Australia and England in particular sent very large teams to compete and the standard of the competition was exceptionally high. Many of our athletes achieved personal best times in their respective events and the team achieved 13 gold medals compared to the eight of 2011.
‘This crop of medal winners will hold us in good stead towards future games and the experiences they received here in Apia, together with the more focused support and preparation programme, will ensure that these athletes are nurtured to become future medal achievers at the highest level.
‘I am very happy with what we have achieved in Apia, we certainly did South Africa proud,’ said Cobers.
SASCOC President Gideon Sam and Vice President Les Williams were both present at the international youth event to show their support.
TEAM SOUTH AFRICA’S MEDAL WINNERS:
Gold: Tlotliso Leotlelo (100m and 200m), Mpho Tladi (110m hurdles), Renate van Tonder (long jump), Taylon Bieldt (100m hurdles) Werner Visser (discuss)
Silver: Werner Visser (shot put)
Bronze: Kyle appel (200m), Burger Lambrechts (discuss and shot put)
Gold: Zane Waddell (50m butterfly, 50m backstroke, 50m freestyle), Erin Gallagher (50m butterfly), mens 4 x 100 individual medley (Neil Fair, Zane Waddell, James Isemonger and Brendan Levy) Mixed relay team (Erin Gallagher, Jamie Reynolds, Zane Waddell and James Isemonger)
Silver: Erin Gallagher (100m freestyle, 50m freestyle), Kaylene Corbett (100m breaststroke, 50m breaststroke), James Isemonger (50m breaststroke), Nathania van Niekerk (200m backstroke)
Bronze: Nathania van Niekerk (100m backstroke), Brendan Levy (200m butterfly, 100m butterfly), James Isemonger (100m breaststroke, 200m breststroke), Neil Fair (400m Individual medley, 200m backstroke, 200m individual medley), Kaylene Corbett (200m breaststroke) Women’s 4 x 100m individual medley, Men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay and Men’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay.
Heino Bezuidenhout, Immanuel Libbok, Embrose Papier, Stedman Gans, Curwin Bosch, Francois Agenbag, Donovan du Randt, Hacjivah Dayimane, Johan Visser, Damian Willemse, Johannes Pretorius and Mfundo Ndlovu.