By Gareth Duncan
in Douglas, the Isle of Man
Team South Africa won 30 medals, including eight gold, at the fourth Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man.
The target for the tournament was to improve on the fourth-place medal table finish achieved in Pune, India in 2008. It was mission accomplished for the 2011 squad of 53 athletes as they jumped up to third place on the overall standings, behind England and Australia respectively. South Africa also won one more gold medal than they did at the last campaign four years ago.
The athletics squad were South Africa’s star performers as they won the most gold medals (six). They also claimed two silver and two bronze medals, to take their overall tally to 10. The swimming squad contributed the most medals as they secured 16 podium finishes, which included two gold, three silver and 11 bronze medals.
Other sporting disciplines to win medals were gymnastics (one silver), rugby sevens (one silver) and boxing (two bronze). Cycling and badminton, who had four athletes in their teams, failed to medal but produced respectable performances in tough fields.
South Africa’s Chef de Mission Ruth Saunders was delighted that the squad managed to hit their target.
‘Our goal for the Commonwealth Youth Games was to win 30 medals and to maintain or improve on our fourth-place finish we achieved in Pune,’ says Saunders. ‘So I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved here in the Isle of Man. We did South Africa proud.’
SASCOC president Gideon Sam and CEO Tubby Reddy were both present at the international youth event to show their support.
‘It is encouraging to note that these results are an improvement from the last Commowealth Youth Games in Pune,’ says Reddy. ‘This crop of medal winners will hold us in good stead towards the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
‘This experience they received here in the Isle of Man, 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.’
TEAM SOUTH AFRICA’S MEDAL WINNERS:
Gold: Andries van der Merwe (men’s 110m hurdles), Gerhard de Beer (men’s discus), Sithembiso Janki (men’s triple jump), Morne Moolman (men’s javelin throw), Willem van Schalkwyk (men’s high jump), men’s 4x100m relay (Bradley Britz, Pieter Conradie, Johannes Pretorius and Andries van der Merwe)
Silver: Johannes Pretorius (men’s 400m hurdles), Ruan Combrinck (shot put).
Bronze: Katleho Dyiyo (men’s 2000m steeplechase), Jan Kotze (men’s discus).
Gold: Kelly Gunnell (women’s 200m breaststroke), Marne Erasmus (women’s 50m butterfly)
Silver: Kelly Gunnell (women’s 100m breaststroke), Hendrick Alberts (men’s 50m butterfly and 100m butterfly)
Bronze: Michelle Weber (women’s 800m freestyle), Marne Erasmus (women’s 50m freestyle), Kelly Gunnell (women’s 50m breaststroke), Luke Pendock (men’s 50m freestyle), Martin Vogel (men’s 4x100m individual medley), Hendrick Alberts (men’s 200m butterfuly), Christopher van de Sande (men’s 200m backstroke), Kurt Benjamin (men’s 100m and 200m backstroke), men’s 4x100m freestyle relay (Hendrick Alberts, Zahir Gamiet, Luke Pendock and Christopher van de Sande), men’s 4x100m Individual medley (Hendrick Alberts, Zahir Gamiet, Luke Pendock and Christopher van de Sande).
Silver: Kirsten Beckett (women’s vault)
Silver: Dries Swanepoel, Tyler Fisher, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Carel Swart, Jan Serfontein, Juan-Janco Gunter, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Cheslin Kolbe, Adriaan Esterhuizen, Sean Robinson, Justin Geduld, Burger Odendaal.
Bronze: Nyiko Ndukula (men’s light flyweight), Jabulani Makhense (men’s lightweight)