By Mark Etheridge
in Brazzaville, Congo
The bulk of Team South Africa arrived here on Wednesday for the 11th African Games the continent’s sporting spectacle.
Flight SAA084 brought the athletes to Brazzaville and the team were treated to a spectacular view of the giant Congo River and the surrounds as the aircraft pulled up shortly before landing and then circled before touching down again.
Back on terra firma it was the badminton team who were first first in competition action, having already arrived at the brand-new Athletes’ Village on Saturday.
Playing in Group C they came up against Kenya and had a 5-0 clean sweep.
Said manager Willie Joseph: ‘We’re in Group C and the other side is Egypt.
‘The competition venue is first class and a stunning facility.
‘We will now take on Egypt and then it’s into the quarter-finals for us. All our matches against Kenya ended 2-0 today as there’s not a three-game rule being applied at this competition.’
Representing the green and gold on Wednesday were Elme de Villiers and Jacob Maliekal in the singles, Wiaan Villein and Michelle Butler-Emmet in the mixed doubles, Viljoen and Andries Malan in the men’s doubles and Jen Fry and Sandra le Grange in the women’s doubles.
The team’s boxers also arrived on Saturday and although there have been some challenges with logistical issues around technical officials the competition is hoping to get underway this Saturday.
The Athletes’ Village is a brand-new complex with spacious en suite rooms and air-conditioning. Meals are taken a short busride outside of the village but the ride is well worth any inconvenience with large and varied helpings of food from the Johannesburg based catering company.
The official opening ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday.
Fencing also got underway on Thursday.