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Athletes win six more medals for SA as Games wind down
- Updated: December 13, 2014
By Mark Etheridge
in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
High jumper Marilize Higgins upped Team South Africa’s medal tally with the first gold of the day as the African Union Region 5 Games moved into the last day of competition here on Saturday.
The track and field athletes went on to claim another five medals for six during the morning session.
Higgins took gold with a leap of 1.64 metres and she was joined on the podium at the White City Stadium venue by heptathlete specialist Nienka du Toit with a 1.50m effort for bronze.
‘I wasn’t really happy with my height,’ Higgins told Road to Rio 2016. ‘But I guess this is still pre-season so for where my training is now I guess it’s about right. Also for me the tartan surface was a bit slippery.’
The Secunda teenager has a best of 1.75m. ‘But that was two years ago and I’ve since had surgery on my left ankle after injuring it during netball.’ She also has Mpumalanga provincial colours for that code.
‘I’ve definitely had worse days in my athletics and all in all it’s been a great experience here being part of Team SA.
‘Next year I’ll start studying at Tukkies where I’ll start off with six months of BsC and then decide on what aspect of medicine I’d like to carry on with,’ said the Hugo Badenhorst trained athlete.
First medal of the day went to Jeanette Bokadie who ended third in the women’s steeplechase with a time of 11min 27.69sec. That was in a comedy-filled race which saw athletes diving headfirst from the hurdle into the water pit.
And in the only other track final featuring SA participation it was Heinrich van Niekerk who also got bronze in the men’s 800m.
The bell for the last lap rang at 55sec and although Van Niekerk was well placed at that stage he lost ground down the back straight before coming on strong down the final straight to bag bronze in 1:52.96.
The final two medals of the morning session both came in the men’s triple jump where Teboho Molibeli took silver and Duwayne Boer bronze.
Molibeli went from fourth to second with his sixth and final attempt of 15.13m.
‘I started well, and my my speed was superb,’ said the Deneysville (Free State) athlete. ‘But after my first jump it just went downhill and I felt really down.
‘But I told myself that I must rather just enjoy it and there’s no point in being mad and then I got silver.’
Had he jumped his personal best of 15.66, set earlier this year in Potchefstroom that would have been good for gold.
‘To be honest I still can’t believe I got silver,’ he said. ‘But I must say it’s an absolute privilege to just be here as part of Team South Africa.’