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SA’s top students gear up for action in Gwangju
- Updated: July 2, 2015
South Africa’s tertiary education sport stars are geared up to shine once again when they showcase their talent against the best university athletes from around the globe when the World Student Games get underway in Gwangju, South Korea on Friday.
Team South Africa finished eighth of 162 nations at the 2013 edition in Kazan, Russia by securing a total of 14 medals (seven gold, three silver and four bronze).
Chef de mission Nomsa Mahlangu is confident they can again show their class in Gwangju, where they will compete against 169 other countries.
‘We have a proud history at the World Student Games, and we believe we are taking a team that will carry the South African flag with pride,’ Mahlangu says.
‘The national squad includes some of our nation’s most accomplished athletes, as well as a number of rising stars who are eager to showcase their skills, and we feel we can improve on our previous performances at the Games.’
South Africa will be represented by 114 athletes in seven of the 21 sports codes being contested at the 28th edition of the multi-sport showpiece.
The football team were the first to arrive in Gwangju last week, in order to prepare for the tournament, and the rowing team left on Monday. The athletics, swimming, golf, gymnastics and shooting contingents had a staggered departure schedule starting on Wednesday.
University Sport South Africa (USSA) has wished the team well, as they aim to challenge for glory at the prestigious biennial event.
‘We have full confidence in the athletes, and regardless of their results we know they will give their best,’ says USSA president Tyrone Pretorius. ‘We wish them the best of luck throughout the Games and we trust they will carry the weight of a nation with honour and pride.’
Several partners including various national federations, Lotto and Sport and Recreation South Africa, have made the team’s participation possible.
‘The World Student Games is a great platform to showcase what South Africa has to offer the world of Sport. It does not only prepare our young athletes for their future in sport but it also develops talent for our country. We send our young athletes to the world knowing they will hopefully fly the South African flag high and make us proud as a nation therefore giving practical meaning to what we are – a winning nation,’ says Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula.
Competition starts on Friday, with the football, volleyball and water polo events getting under way, and the official opening ceremony will be held at the Gwangju Universiade Main Stadium on Saturday.