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Snyman grapples her way to medal chance for SA
- Updated: August 19, 2014
By Mark Etheridge
in Nanjing, China
At last … Team South Africa are in line for their first medal of the Youth Olympic Games here on Tuesday night.
A gold medallist at the 2nd African Youth Games in Botswana three months ago, judoka Unelle Snyman lost her semi-final bout against Croatia’s Brigita Matic but will battle for bronze against Spain’s Sara Rodriguez in the -78kg category in the evening session at the Longjiang Gymnasium.
Snyman lost on ippon (Tate-shiho-gatame, or a hold-down in layman’s terms) with 1min 32sec left to grapple.
‘Unelle is much stronger but technically the other girl controlled her this time,’ said coach Mark Desfountain.
‘The Croatian girl was top five at Cadet World Championships last year so this is all good learning time on the mat for Unelle,’ he said.
Earlier in the quarter-final, the Florida, Johannesburg judoka had beaten Belgium’s Sophie Berger to earn her chance at a medal. She won by Wazari with 1min 31sec left of her bout. ‘It was “mal-hard”, madly difficult,’ she said afterwards.
‘I stressed badly before my fight. It was tough, she has a much lower centre of gravity than me which makes it so much more difficult.’
Added Desfountain, also her coach at the African Youth Games: ‘She fought a great fight. Her opponent was third at Cadet World Championships last year in the -70kg, but they are all fighting one division higher here this year.’
Meanwhile in the swimming pool, the 4x100m relay team qualified for the evening final. They ended second in the first of two heats, ending runners-up and 2.87sec behind Great Britain (3min 26.37sec.)
Swimming for SA were Christopher Reid, Joshua Steyn, Jarred Crous and Brent Szurdoki.
The freestyle relay is the final event of the evening’s swimming programme.
Pictures by Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA. Pictures of Team South Africa’s campaign at the 2014 Youth Olympics are free for downloading on www.sascocimages.co.za.