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Bumpy ride but Team SA safely in Nanjing for Youth Olympics

YOG MEDALS

By Mark Etheridge
in Nanjing, China

After more than one full day of travel, two flights, a two-hour delay and many racing hearts … a relieved 55-strong Team South Africa have arrived here safely for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

Dragon Air Flight KA810 touched down at Lukou Airport after a flight which veteran SASCOC photographer Wessel Oosthuizen described as ‘the scariest of my life!’

After a trans-Indian Ocean flight from Johannesburg to Hong Kong, congested air routes to Nanjing and bad weather up the east coast of the country meant the team spent close on two-hours in the plane awaiting take-off clearance.

Finally taking off in howling winds which had rocked the plane to and fro on the tarmac, lashing rain and dense cloud meant passengers couldn’t see as far as the wingtips.

And once the plane took off, turbulence meant that the climb to cruising altitude involved making a few metres upwards, a few metres downwards and often a few metres sideways!

But all’s well that ends well and the the team of South Africans, who will compete across 15 various codes in this huge city, have checked in to the newly built village and are now busy sorting out logistics ahead of the Games which start on Saturday and continue to Thursday, 28 August.

Since their arrival, the team has been greeted by overcast and damp conditions with the sun yet to make an appearance.

Actual action starts on Sunday and from the get-go South Africans will be involved in a final, that of the women’s triathlon where Jayme-Sue Vermaas will represent the green and gold. The Bloemfontein athlete took second spot in the 2014 African Junior Championships.

Four year’s ago Wian Sullwald took eighth spot in the men’s triathlon at the inaugural Games in Singapore, and has since gone on to represent South Africa at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Other South African action will involve aquatics, gymnastics, judo, tennis, and hockey (five-a-side at Youth Olympics level).


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