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SA’s latest Olympians share their thoughts!

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By Mark Etheridge

As the dust settled on the announcement of a star-studded South African team for the Rio Olympics, reaction came in thick and fast from the chosen ones.
Athletes and administrators alike shared their thoughts with Road to Rio 2016 as the team was announced at Olympic House in Johannesburg.

CAMERON VAN DER BURGH (Aquatics, breaststroke)

No better news waking up to being officially on the 2016 Olympics team… Congratulations to all the members! #ItsOurTime

ROCCO VAN ROOYEN (Athletics, javelin)
‘Wow, I’ve just cried and cried today. I’ve got so many people who support me in the athletics world, and many of the kids’ parents who I coach were also in tears. And they were also so happy for me. They know how I always give my best and never give up. Now I am so looking forward to the Games, with a few weeks left to put everything in and get the right preparations. I’ll be in touch with my Finnish coach now and see if him or coach Terteus Liebenberg who is also going to Rio can help me find my technical rhythm. And I can prepare like a bomb about to explode. Right now I feel I can throw 100m if need be.’

HENRICHO BRUINTJIES (Athletics)
‘A lot of people don’t know where I come from… but I want them all to know where I’m going!! I’m on my way to the Rio Olympic games!!! God blessed me so much… anybody that knows me and knows what it took me to get to where I am today believes when I say: “It’s possible”

KYLE DODD (Cycling, BMX)
‘Wow I don’t even know where to begin! This has been a life-long dream for me and when BMX first became an Olympic sport I knew that’s where I wanted to be. The amount of support I have received so far is incredible and I’m so overwhelmed. This is a huge step in my career and my dream has finally become reality. There are so many people to thank but a big thank-you to my family and coaching for always backing me and supporting me and all that is left to do is go and ”kill it “in Rio.

CHRIS DEDNAM (Badminton)
‘Hey…. it’s such an honour for me to go to my third Olympics.. and this time as coach.’

GILLIAN SANDERS (Triathlon)
‘Super excited. One of 137 people out of 53 million chosen to go and represent my country. It’s very special and it’s time to go and lay it all out there – can’t wait!’

JANINE VAN WYK (Football)
‘This means’ the world to me… this time its’ a lot more than the first time as I’m leading my team to the games, so really excited looking so forward to it. An amazing achievement for me, having worked hard throughout my life and it’s all paid off now with these personal goals and I’m confident that we’ll go there and do really well.’

LJ VAN ZYL (Athletics, 400m hurdles)
What great honour to be selected for my third Olympics. It’s also a huge honour to be able to share it with my wife Irvette [marathon] as it’s her second Olympics. I also know it’s my role in the team to look after “rookies” Lindsay Hanekom and Le Roux Hamman and to support them where I can.’

LINDSAY HANEKOM (Athletics, 400m hurdles)
‘So many mixed emotions this morning at Olympic House. I felt so honoured when the SASCOC President, Mr Gideon Sam, said a few words about me in his speech. I’m  very excited to be part of Team South Africa and representing my country at the global showpiece.’

DOMINIQUE SCOTT-EFURD (Athletics, 10,000m)
‘Hearing my name being announced as a member of the South African Olympic team for Rio was incredible. I’m so excited to represent South Africa and my new sponsor adidas at the Olympics. This solidifies that all the many years of hard work and sacrifices were worth it. I owe all the glory to God who blessed me with my talent and love to run. I cannot wait to wear the green and gold!”

LEBO PHALULA (Athletics, marathon)
‘I was so excited when I finally saw my name, I thought I was dreaming but I guess it  wasn’t a dream but a reality. I finally made itand being the first black South African women to run the marathon at the Olympics means a lot to me. Proudly Phalula’s!’

CLARENCE MUNYAI (Athletics, sprints)
‘I can’t describe the feeling, every time I try and think about what happened I get goosebumps. It’s a dream come true but I still think I’m living in a dream. Going to the Olympics at the age of 18 is such an achievement for me.’

IRMA REYNEKE (Athletics, coach)
‘Everything’s still sinking in. A person works so hard and spends hours and hours at the track. My first feeling today, though was one of heartsore for the athletes who had Olympic dreams and didn’t make the team. I’m honoured to have Kurt Couto of Mozambique in my squad as he’s going to his fourth Olympics. LJ van Zyl is going for his third. I’ve learnt so much these last two years from those two. Wendy Nel and Le Roux Hamman have a first Olympics and I’m so pleased for them who have worked for years to get to the team today. And I also want to thank former coaches who have contributed to their success. These coaches also played a huge part in their lives.’


3 comments
Aphendule Maneli
Aphendule Maneli

Why don't you advertisev sailing because stefano Marcia qualified .

Team South Africa
Team South Africa

Hi there Aphendule... I sent out a message to ALL our Olympians asking them to get back to me yesterday. Soon as they get back to me, they get their spot in the sun. Thanks for your interest. Mark Etheridge (Editor: Road to Rio 2016)