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More SA codes wrap up YOG action

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By Mark Etheridge
in Nanjing, China

Six codes were in action for Team South Africa on the penultimate day of the Youth Olympic Games on Tuesday but there were no more medals after hurdler Gezelle Magerman’s golden heroics of the previous night.

Rhythmic artist Shannon Gardiner wrapped up the team’s participation in the gymnastics code, ending 15th with a total of 45.560 points after her four routines.

She took part in the hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon, totalling 11.350, 11.400, 11.750 and 11.150 respectively to miss out on the afternoon finals.

‘I’m really happy with my day,’ said the 14-year-old Pretoria gymnast who competes in hand-made leotards imported from Bulgaria. ‘I’ve scored a 52 at African Championships but the marking is much, much harder here. I had great fun and it was an amazing experience which will help me going forward. I like clubs and ball routines and the hoop is also amazing. I love the ribbon most but that is also the most difficult to master.’

Next up for the Grade 9 Cornwall Hill College kid will be SA nationals in Cape Town in October. ‘We’ve also chatted to the Moroccan coach who may be able to organise some competitions in France later this year.’

Said coach Nina Ervedosa: ‘She competed beautifully, it’s a huge experience for her. It was a fantastic experience with the world’s 18 top nations competing. Just being here is a huge privilege.’

The team’s only girl wrestler, Leanco Stans lost her final match of the competition when she was beaten in the fifth/sixth placement bout. She went down to India’s Reshma Anil Mane 3-0 (8-0 on technical points).

‘I still think Leanco has done well here,’ said coach Nico Coetzee. ‘No excuses at all but her first match could have gone either way, it was just a matter of converting the small things. This was her first competition at this level and out of the continent, so it was a great experience.’

Wednesday will see the team’s two boys in action, Elbert Steyn (63kg) and Reynhardt Louw (54kg).

‘Reynardt has drawn opponents from Yemen, the US and Macedonia. The first one should be OK but the US guy will be difficult because he made the finals of Pan-Ams.

‘Elbert has a way tougher draw. His first fight will be against Pilau which should be OK but then he has two tough fights against top wrestling nations Azerbaijan and Georgia. But he is a tough youngster so we’ll just have to wait and see.’

The women’s hockey side ended their Nanjing campaign in eighth spot after going down 6-1 to Germany.

Marizen Marais scored SA’s only goal to level matters in the ninth minute but that was the only joy for the girls in green and gold as they ended the first chukker 2-1 down and conceded three more goals in the second period and another one in the final period.

And in the final golfing action out at the impressive Gary Player designed Zongshan International Club, the South Africans ended 17th in the individual section and third round of the Mixed Teams competition.

They carded a 147 to end eight shots behind winners New Zealand. Their combined score over the three days was 290, good for 17th overall and 18 shots behind Sweden.

In canoeing, Donna Hutton took to the water in what is very much a case of uncharted territory for her, the K1 obstacle slalom. But she did well to clock a 1min 38sec in the qualification heats and then went through the repechage to qualify for the top 16, where she improved her time to 1:34.

Said manager Debbie Bird: ‘She went on to further improve her time to 1:33 in the top 16 race. Donna has done Canoeing South Africa and the country proud. I am incredibly impressed with her performance. She has also got fully involved in the educational programmes and the cultural part of these Games.’

In the day’s final action involving South Africans, athletes took part in mixed 8x100m relay events. Best of the South Africans was javelin thrower Jo-Ané van Wyk, whose team ended fifth.

Picture of Shannon Gardiner 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.


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