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High hopes for first medal
- Updated: October 3, 2010
New Delhi: He isn’t being asked to race in the morning heats but Roland Schoeman will be hoping for the eighth Commonwealth Games medal of his glittering career when he and his 4x100m freestyle teammates square off against traditional rivals Australia and Canada on day one of competition here on Monday.
Schoeman arrived for his first taste of India late last week and admitted to ÔÇ£having to throw a few toys out of the cotÔÇØ to get his airconditioning to work after a first largely sleepless night. However, he’s a far happier camper and is putting on his game face as competition nears.
ÔÇ£They call me the ou man of the team but it’s not about age, it’s about desire. Look at (American) Dara Torres. She was 41 when she competed in the last Olympics. I’m not saying that I’m going to win three golds here like I did at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, because this sport is not like that,ÔÇØ Schoeman said.
ÔÇ£But I can say that I have never been happier and I have had a good preparation. I am determined to put on a good show and if I don’t it’s not because I didn’t give everything.ÔÇØ When asked whether or not this will be his fourth and final Commonwealth Games (he has won four golds at the last two Games’), he said: ÔÇ£ It is more desire, form and the motivation to want to compete, and at this stage I’d want to go to Glasgow in 2014 if I can contribute to a medal tally and if I am still enjoying being in the pool.
Australia will be confident of improving on their silver medal in the 2006 Games in Melbourne, but if South Africa are to be beaten, it won’t be without a fight. Schoeman himself, who is now based in France where he is ÔÇ£happier than everÔÇØ, wants to lead by example in the final.
In the 400m freestyle heats Jean Basson, Mark Randall and Riaan Schoeman are in action ÔÇô depending on their success, there could also be representation in the final at 1pm (SA time) ÔÇô and Chad le Clos and Sebastien Rousseau are also involved in the 200m butterfly heats.
Randall, with a season’s best of 3min 49.97sec set at the nationals in Durban in April, is the highest-ranked South African in the 400m freestyle, but comes┬á against some stiff opposition with Canadian Ryan Cochrane’s 3:46.78 at the Pan Pacs in August establishing him as strong gold medal favourite.
Le Clos is one of the rising stars of South African swimming and he will be filling in for Schoeman in the 4x100m free heat (alongside Graeme Moore, Gideon Louw and Darian Townsend), but will also be in the men’s 200m butterfly where his 1:56.85 (set at the Youth Olympics in Singapore) makes him a medal contender. That’s if Singapore didn’t take too much out of him.
Rousseau put in a 1:58.04 at the Pan Pacs and also takes his chances in the 200m ‘fly.
Men’s 400m freestyle heats (Jean Basson, Mark Randall, Riaan Schoeman)
Men’s 200m butterfly heats (Chad le Clos, Sebastien Rousseau)
Men’s 4x100m freestyle heats (Graeme Moore, Gideon Louw, Chad le Clos, Darian Townsend)
Morning session ends 7.50am (SA time)
Evening session finals
Men’s 400m freestyle (12.59pm)
Men’s 200m butterfly (1.12pm)
Men’s 4x100m freestyle (1.40pm)