McCann and Co win gold and silver for Team South Africa | SASCOC - SASCOC

McCann and Co win gold and silver for Team South Africa

Kirsten McCann and the women’s coxless fours quartet were delighted with their performances on Monday after the rowing team bagged South Africa’s first two medals of the World Student Games in Kazan, Russia ÔÇô and immediately dedicated them to ailing former President Nelson Mandela.

McCann held off Russian Olga Arkadova by a little more than four seconds to win gold in the A final of the women’s lightweight singles sculls, crossing the line in 8min 10.62sec and the women’s coxless fours soon added a silver to Team South Africa’s tally.

ÔÇ£This is awesome! It was such a hard race and she (Arkadova) pushed me so hard,ÔÇØ said McCann, who also won gold in her specialist event at last year’s World University Rowing Championships at the same venue. “It’s not often you get to see the SA flag raised, so to show the world that South Africa is on top, and can compete at this level, is awesome.ÔÇØ

McCann said she had Mandela, who is in critical condition at a Pretoria hospital, on her mind throughout the race. ÔÇ£My coach said to me that not many people get to wear SA colours and represent the country,ÔÇØ she said.

ÔÇ£The first thing that came to my mind was Madiba and how we could make him proud.

ÔÇ£He suffered so much for us, and when I was feeling pain on the course, I knew that he felt so much more for us, to give us the freedom to race here. So he was in the back of my mind the whole race.ÔÇØ

McCann thanked University Sport South Africa (USSA) for assisting her in the build-up to the biennial event. ÔÇ£This makes me so proud , after the support we got for these Games ÔÇô the medical staff physios, doctors, and having the funds to get over here for preparation.

ÔÇ£It feels cool to be able to reward USSA for awarding us the opportunity, and give something back by putting SA on top of the world.ÔÇØ

Minutes after McCann crossed the finish line, the women’s coxless fours team ÔÇô Claire-Louise Bode, Kate Christowitz, Holly Norton and Catherine Stark ÔÇô secured the country’s second medal of the Games when they finished second in the A final of their event.

The SA quartet grabbed silver in 7:07.44, with Russia snatching the gold medal in 6:59.92. ÔÇ£It was an incredible experience and I’ll definitely be back here next time if I’m still studying,ÔÇØ Christowitz said. ÔÇ£We all had an amazing race and we did the best we possily could have.ÔÇØ

The women’s fours team also stepped on the podium in honour of Madiba. ÔÇ£He’s the father of our nation,ÔÇØ said Christowitz, ÔÇ£and there’s nothing more special than dedicating this medal to him.ÔÇØ