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SA lifesavers hunt glory at World Games

Today we feature the fourth in a series of pre-event stories ahead of South Africa’s campaign at the 2013 World Games in Cali, Colombia. South Africa will be represented in nine different sporting codes. MARK ETHERIDGE looks at our squad of lifesavers.

Lifesaving supplied one of Team South Africa’s three medals at the 2009 World Games in Taiwan and they look like doing the same if not better at the 2013 Games in Cali, Colombia later this month.

It was Team South Africa’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony in Taiwan, Ryan Brennan who took bronze in the Ironman event to go with the team’s silver in barefoot waterskiing and bronze in sevens rugby.

Armand Marais was one of the team at Taiwan but failed to medal. Since then though, he’s powered on and won bronze in the Lifesaving World Championships in Adelaide, Australia last year.

He took part in the 100-metre Manikin with Fins Rescue event and his bronze medal time came in 30.81sec, compared to the winner’s time of 30.01.

Team manager Winston Meyer, who fulfilled the same managerial task in Taiwan, waxes lyrical when speaking of Marais’ medal chances. “I predict that we’ll be in for probably one of the best showdowns in the history of this event at World Games 2013. The current world record stands at 28.94sec, well within reach of Armand to rewrite the record books and certain medal potential for Team SA.”

Take away the fact that New Zealand and Australia won’t be at the 2013 Games and South Africa are certainly in with more medal chances. Marais is also medal potential in the 50m manikin rescue while Meyer reckons Barjo van Niekerk can do well in same event as well as the the 100m Dummy with Fins.

As for the rest of the team Meyer had this to say: “Newcomers Megan Stephens and Paul van Achterbergh will certainly raise the stakes in the Obstacles as I believe they will progress to A Finals with certain medal potential. Another newcomer, Carmel Billson needs to be watched in the 50m Manikin as she could be upset material for A Finals in that specific event.

“Guinivere Rogers is A Final potential in the 100m Manikin with Fins. Youngsters, Megan, Carmel and Paul all benefited tremendously from the Rescue 2012 Series in Australia to prepare them for World Games 2013.

“It’s also expected that we will reach A Finals in all relays and especially in the 4x50m Obstacle, 4x25m Manikin Relay and 4x50m Medley Relay’s for men, we could be upset material for countries such as Italy and Germany.

“The babies in the team are Rudolf Visser, Christiaan Malan and Paul, who will all use World Games 2013 to make their mark for future international events and we’ll probably say goodbye to regular stalwart Barjo. The three of them together with Armand should be the core for any Stillwater Men’s touring team for SA in the next four years till the World Games 2017. Similarly so will be Megan, Samantha Plumb and Carmel for the ladies.

Only four competitors remain from the class of 2009 ÔÇô┬áMarais, Van Niekerk, Jayne Broderick and Rogers.

The last-mentioned was involved in a race of another kind in Taiwan when she inadvertently packed her passport in a container destined to return to South Africa separate from the team and a last-minute bullet train dash from Kaohsiung City to the capital of Taipei had to be made to salvage the situation.

“What is very important for me as manager is to see my team collecting the points to better our international ranking within the lifesaving fraternity,” concluded Meyer.

The countries that will contest lifesaving at World Games 2013 are: Italy, Germany, France, The Netherlands, China, Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Canada and Japan.

The following events will be contested in the pool by SA at World Games 2013:

Individual race
100m Manikin Carry with Fins ÔÇô Women
100m Manikin Carry with Fins ÔÇô Men
100m Manikin Tow with Fins ÔÇô Women
100m Manikin Tow with Fins ÔÇô Men
200m Obstacle Swim ÔÇô Women
200m Obstacle Swim ÔÇô Men
200m Super Lifesaver ÔÇô Women
200m Super Lifesaver ÔÇô Men
50m Manikin Carry ÔÇô Women
50m Manikin Carry ÔÇô Men

Team events (relays)
Teams
4x25m Manikin Relay ÔÇô Women
4x25m Manikin Relay ÔÇô Men
4x50m Obstacle Relay ÔÇô Women
4x50m Obstacle Relay ÔÇô Men
4x50m Medley Relay ÔÇô Women
4x50m Medley Relay ÔÇô Men


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