By Mark Etheridge
in Cali, Colombia
They may┬á be arriving home in South Africa with World Games bronze medals draped around their neck on Tuesday but already the SA tug-of-war team are looking further down the line.
The team will now take a short breather before the road to the next World Games in Wroclow, Poland in 2017.
All but two of them that is… youngsters Leonnel Steyn and An├®l Rabie now switch focus to the Under-23 outdoor World Championships taking place in Assen, Netherlands.
Team manager Anton Gerber was a happy man as the team jetted off back to South Africa.
“We’ve moved up from sixth at the last World Games in Taiwan to third and these Games so I have to be happy.
“The good thing is that at least six of the girls in this team should still be available for us to work with over the next four years.”
Asked which particular pull was Team SA’s best effort over the course of the competition, Gerber had no hesitation. “The winning pull against Switzerland, without a doubt, it all came together very nicely.”
Can the machine that goes by the name of Chinese Taipei be beaten?
“Definitely but one has to understand that they are basically professional and train for six months solidly. They were here in Cali two weeks ago already. They are government funded and during their build-up they train seven days a week for eight hours a day. It’s hard to match that.
“But they can be beaten. I’ve seen them beaten by Spain. The trick is to make them defend. They’re brilliant on attack but if you can get them to defend they’re not unbeatable.”
Gerber now has four years to work on a Team SA master plan to put that thought into practice.