Badminton boosts tally | SASCOC - SASCOC

Badminton boosts tally

By Mark Etheridge
in Maputo

They may not be coming at quite the same speed but the medals continued to pile up for Team South Africa at the 10th All Africa Games here on Monday.

Badminton came to the party with four medals as they wrapped up their code in the city with three golds and a silver.

Canoeing also clubbed in with two (a gold and silver) in a late result from Sunday but with the sport being contested 200km out of the city details were sketchy as to the exact event.

And then track and field added two more to make it eight more medals and boost the total tally to 128 with five days left of the competition. That tally is made up of 57 gold, 37 silver and 33 bronze medals. All indications are that it will take something extraordinary for South Africa to relinquish their grip on the overall medal tally when the Games end at the weekend.

Badminton’s gold medals came in the singes (Jacob Maliekal), women’s doubles (Stacey Doubell and Anneri Viljoen) and the mixed doubles (Anneri and Willem Viljoen). Then there was a silver for Dorian James and Willem Vljoenn in the men’s doubles.

At the Estadio Nacional track and field event it was again giant Egyptian Yasser Farag who denied our athletes gold. On Sunday he won the discus and a day later won the shot put with a heave of 19.73 metres.

Jaco Engelbrecht took silver for SA with a throw of 18.80 and Roelie Potgieter pushed an 18.67 effort for third and bronze. Our other competitor, Ross Jordaan, took fourth with an 18.09 throw.

“Another bad day at the office,” reflected Potgieter, who has a personal best of 19.47 and was silver medallist at All Africa Games in Algeria four years ago. “I’ve done so much this year, got married, bought a house, competed in Europe, picked up injury.. just so much has gone on.

“I’ve got a bit of an Achilles tendon injury so can’t throw flat out. After three or four throws I can really feel it so I need to get it seen to,” said the big 31-year-old from Pretoria.

All our athletes in action on Monday were in track items. First up was Annika Smit in the high jump. The last time she competed at All Africa Games, in 2007, she left with the silver medal… on Monday she left the sport for good!

She went clear at 1.70 and 1.75 and then failed with three attempts at 1.80 as Nigeria’s Doreen Amata, defending champion in this event, went on to win ÔÇô at 1.80m. That was 9cm lower than her win in Algiers four years ago.

“That’s it,” said a clearly upset Smit. “This was a final trial run to see if I must carry on but my ankle was quite sore all competition and I’ve got other priorities now, to look after my child and my career as a teacher at East Driefontein Primary School in Carletonville.”

It seems a long season has taken it’s toll on most of our track and field athletes as Tumelo Thagane was also in trouble in the triple jump. A man with a best of 17.09, Tagane opened with a 15.81, improved to his best of the night (15.92) and then faded to a final attempt of 15.49 which put him fourth as Nigeria’s Tosin Oke won with a 16.65 final effort.

“It’s my Achilles this time,” said the Potchefstroom University Human Movement student. “It started at World Student Games in China and also at World Champs in Daegu. I’ll have to go back into rehab and sort it out now.”

In other sports on Monday, our men’s and women’s chess teams both had sixth round victories while our two tennis players had second round victories.

Top seeded Chanel Simmonds had a 6-0 6-0 second round win over her opponent from Ghana and third-seeded Natasha Fourouclas was almost as good with a 6-1 6-0 win against Lesotho. Both had first round byes. “It was very easy for the girls,” said manager Bridget Visee. “Chanel was through in 40 minutes and Natasha only needed about another five minutes. The two are now through to the last 16 stages and are also seeded first for the doubles competition.”

Our men’s basketballers went down 77-59 to Angola in the group stages and then in the beach volleyball tournament our women beat Algeria and the men beat Nigeria to progress.

Tuesday sees Justine Robbeson and Gerlize de Klerk line up in the women’s javelin but sad news is that World Championships bronze medallist Sunette Viljoen will not make the trip due to international commitments she must still fulfil.

Good news though is that world long jump junior champion Luvo Manyonga, and fifth at World Championships in Daegu earlier this month, has arrived and should be a virtual certainty to medal here.

Our women’s soccer side play Cameroon in a tough semi-final in the morning while their male counterparts take on Senegal, also in a semi-final.