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Luvo flies the flag
- Updated: December 11, 2010
World junior long jump champion Luvo Manyonga got Team South Africa’s Zone VI Youth Games campaign moving in Swaziland on Saturday as SA marched into the opening ceremony as the first of the nine participating teams.
Boland athlete Manyonga, 19, was also afforded the honour of being flag-bearer at the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Moncton, Canada, earlier this year. “It’s a great honour to carry the flag for your country, especially twice in one year,” said Manyonga.
South Africa has the largest squad at the Games, which feature just over 1,000 athletes taking part in seven different sports. Other nations are Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and the host nation. Missing from Sunday’s opening ceremony were Lesotho.
Earlier the team attended a flag-raising ceremony at the Athletes’ Village where Chef de Mission Nombuso Gumbi was presented with a ceremonial gift by the local mayor.
The team then gave a rousing rendition of the national anthem and it was a fitting way for 400m hurdles athlete Juan-Marie Senekal to celebrate her 18th birthday.
One of the first SA teams in action on Sunday morning will be the netballers. They are scheduled to take on Namibia in their Games opener and are expected to play two games on Sunday.
The SA girls are defending champions after beating Namibia in the final at the last Zone VI Games in Potchefstroom two years ago.
Said coach Aletta Du Preez: “It’s a good group of talent. We’ve had two weekend training camps, one in October and one in November and we would expect to reach the final at these Games again. The way the schedule looks we’ll be playing about seven round-robin games and then the semi-finals.”
The team is captained by Fikile Mkhuzangwe, one of four Free State athletes in the 12-strong squad.