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Team SA ready to roll

By Mark Etheridge

Team South Africa roared into Kaohsiung City on Dragon Air Flight KA 436 Tuesday for the 2009 World Games, stirred but hardly shaken.

The 89-strong team faced a draining two-leg 12-hour cross Indian Ocean flight to Taiwan, via Hong Kong, and were jolted out of their slumbers when the airliner hit bad turbulence with even the likes of the team’s strongest letting of yelps of alarm.

They didn’t need reminding then that the turbulence came directly above the northern tip of Indonesia and Banda Aceh which was all but wiped out in the devastating tsunami over the Christmas period a few years back.

The team, in town for the 10-day duration of the games, between July 16-26 this year and held every four years, were in good spirits but drained by the conditions.

The temperature was 30 deg Celcius on arrival with energy-sapping humidity.

The streets were full off locals and tourists wearing masks in a bid to prevent the dreaded swine-flu, the same disease that caused the abandoning of a schools choir in Korea at the weekend.

But team doctor Zakaria Moolla was quick to put the team at rest. “Obviously we will keep a good eye on everyone but I have no reason for worry. The main problem in the humidity and athletes are going to have be extremely careful to hydrate themselves.

“And they’ll also need to adapt to the pollution.”

Chef de Mission Jerry Masia was just glad that the team had arrived in one piece. “We’ve waited a long time for this and now it’s time for the team to get down to action”

Training for the 13 sports codes that South Africa are involved in starts Wednesday with the first SA athletes in action being Nicholas Mulder and Tania Wimberley in the orienteering event on Friday and Saturday.


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