By Mark Etheridge
Given the glut of medals thus far in the competition Friday was a quiet day at the office as the All Africa Games went into their penultimate day here.
Just three medals came South Africa’s way, both of them silver but the medal count still rose to 147 for the team and are unbeatable on the medals table here in the Mozambican capital.
In judo it was Gideon van Zyl who came through a tough afternoon’s fighting to take silver against his Algerian opponent in the 73kg category, the only SA judoka to win a medal at this competition.
Earlier in the day sickness saw another gold medal going abegging when top seed Chanel Simmonds had to retire in the third set of the women’s final.
Playing French Open junior champion Ons Jabeur, Simmonds took the first set 6-4, lost the second 1-6 and was down 0-3 in the decider against her Tunisian opponent when her body said no more.
She’d been sick in bed since Thursday afternoon with a stomach bug and failed to recuperate fully. “I survived the first set but she stretched me all the way and it just took too much out of me,” said SImmonds. “I lost the second set quickly and then was just too weak to keep on fighting in the third.”
Nevertheless the mere fact that she made the final earned her a silver medal.
Then away from the sports fields and in the mind-games arena our women’s team took bronze in the women’s blitz event.
Our women’s soccer players fought hard for a bronze medal in the play-off for the bronze medal at the Maxaquene Stadium against Algeria but were finally found wanting and went down 3-0 to end without a medal
Still, considering the fact that their first choice side had been on duty last week in their 2012 Olympic Games qualifier against Ethiopia while this combination were in Mozambique, they can hold their heads high. “We just weren’t good enough and played badly on the day,” said┬á manager Zanele Khanyile.
In the taekwondo code, our last fighter in action, Alpheus Mkhonazi lost his bout in the -63kg category, the 23-year-old Garankuwa based fighter losing out to his Tanzanian opponent 5-3.
On Saturday Siyabulela Mabulu will be in action in the 66kg category of the men’s judo competition while the men’s soccer side close out the competition, hopefully on a golden note, when they take on Ghana in the final event of the 10th All Africa Games.