Team South Africa were involved in a busy day of opening action at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast on Thursday. Here’s a quick glance to see how they fared – and of course, the highlight was Henri Schoeman’s triathlon gold.
Mixed team competition: South Africa lost 5-0 to a powerful Australian outfit. Prakash Vijayanath went down 2-0 to Anthony Joe in the men’s singles while the women’s singles saw Johanita Scholtz beaten by the same margin against Wendy Hsuan-Yu. In the doubles, the SA men’s players Cameron Coetzer and Tuks player Bongani van Bodenstein lost 2-0 to Matthew Chau and Sawan Serasinghe (also 2-0). Michelle Butler-Emmett teamed up with Dubai-based Elmé de Villiers in the women’s doubles and they lost 2-0 to Setyana Mapasa and Granya Somerville. In the mixed doubles it was yet another 2-0 defeat as Vijayanath and Butler-Emmett lost to Serasinghe and Mapasa. Going into this fixture and national coach Stewart Carson knew what they were up against: ‘The Aussie women’s doubles are ranked 22nd in the world and they have a full-time training centre down in Melbourne.’
Women’s Singles, Section A, Round 2: Colleen Piketh won her match against Catherine Beattie of Northern Ireland, 21-13
Men’s Triples, Section A, Round 2: South Africa’s trio of Gerald Baker, Rudi Jacobs, Morgan Muvhan were on the wrong side of a 22-6 result against Wales, to lose their opening game.
Mixed B2/B3 Pairs, Section A, Round 1: Lead Princess Schroeder and director Graham Ward and skip Philippus Walker and Johanna van Rooyen went down 23-6 to host nation Australia. Women’s Fours, Section C, Round 1: South Africa, made up of Elma Davis, Esme Kruger, Nicolene Neal, Johanna Snyman) beat northern neighbours Zambia 17-10.
Men’s B6/B7/B8 Triples, Section A, Round 1: South Africa (Tobias Botha, Willem Viljoen, Christopher Patton) shared the spoils with England as the score ended all square at 13-13.
Men’s Pairs, Section B, Round 2: The South Africa combination of Petrus Breitenbach, Jason Evans) overcame Wales in a narrow 17-15 win after being 17-8 up at one stage.
Women’s Fours, Section C, Round 2: Elma Davis, Esme Kruger, Nicolene Neal, Johanna Snyman) combined to post South Africa’s second drawn match of the day as they shared the spoils (10-10) with little Norfolk Island, population less than 2000 in a 2016 census.
Women’s 4000m team pursuit: This was the first time South Africa had entered a women’s team track pursuit outfit at Commonwealth Games and the combination of Ilze Bole, Charlene du Preez, Adelia Neethling and Elfriede Wolfaardt ended sixth of seven teams in qualifying. In a qualifying round dominated by Australia (a Games record 4min 17.218sec), they managed to beat India. Importantly, the also smashed the old South African record of 5:22:417 when they broke the 5min barrier with a time of 4:51.224.
Men’s 4000m team pursuit: The SA men’s side ended sixth of eight teams as New Zealand were disqualified. Like their female counterparts, the combination of Steve Van Heerden, David Maree, Nolan Hoffman and Gert Fouche also rewrote the record books. They beat the old mark of 4:18.194 set in Glasgow as they rode a time of 4:11.711. Fastest to the final were Australia (also in a Games record of 3:52:041. Code manager Ricky Kulsen will be proud of the fact that although neither team progressed to the final they at least showed that they are getting quicker and quicker.
Women’s Pool A: South Africa lost 2-0 to pool favourites England, conceding a goal in each of the first two quarters.
Men’s Pool A: Down 3-0 after just 14 minutes, South Africa fought back well but lost 2-4 to Scotland in their opening game. Captain Tim Drummond (field goal) and Gareth Heyns (penalty corner) got the SA goals.
Women’s Final: Gillian Sanders, two-time Commonwealth Games competitor, ended 15th, 6min 16sec behind winner Flora Duffy of Bermuda.
Simone Ackermann finished 18th, +9:03 back after taking a tumble just one lap into the bike leg.
Men’s Final: GOLD! Henri Schoeman added Commonwealth gold to his Olympic bronze with a convincing win in 52min 31sec, slacking off down the blue carpet to savour victory but still seven seconds clear of fast-finishing local favourite Jake Birtwhistle. Richard Murray, bronze medallist at the Glasgow Games four years ago, had to settle for sixth, 33sec back after giving his all in the chasing group on the bike.Wian Sullwald, former world youth champion, said he was still suffering from illness and ended 20th, +3:39 back.
Women’s 400m Individual Medley: Marlies Ross. The 20-year-old clocked 4:55.30 to finish sixth in her heat and failed to progress to the final.
Men’s 400m freestyle: Brent Szurdoki. The 21-year-old timed 3:56.40, to finish fifth in his heat and 10th overall, missing out on the final. ‘Not what I wanted, but no excuses. I’m looking forward to the 1500m, which is my favourite.’
Eben Vorster. The 20-year-old clocked 3:56.82, a personal best, to finish sixth in his heat and 11th overall, missing out on the final. ‘I was very nervous, but am happy,’ he said.
Women’s 200m freestyle: Duné Coetzee. The 15-year-old finished fifth in her heat in 2:04.15, for 14th place overall. ‘This is my first senior championships. I wasn’t nervous, just excited, but it’s two seconds off my PB, so I can’t say I’m that happy with that part of things.’
Kristen Bellingan. The 20-year-old took 0.36 seconds off her SB to clock 2.04.37 for fifth in her heat and 15th overall.
Ross finished sixth in her heat in 2:08.29, five seconds off her entry time, to place 17th overall.
Men’s 50m butterfly
Heats: Chad le Clos finished second in his heat to gold medal favourite Ben Proud, but the Englishman was disqualified. That left Le Clos, with a 23.53, the fastest qualifier headed into the semi-finals.
Ryan Coetzee was the first to dip under 24 sec when he won his heat in 23.94. That placed him third overall heading into the semi-finals.
Brad Tandy finished third behind Coetzee in his heat in 24.41, which placed him 10th fastest overall to qualify for the semi-finals.
Semi-finals: Le Clos and Coetzee, who have been training together, finished first and second in their semi-final, the faster of the two, to go into the final with huge confidence. Le Clos timed 23.53, the same as the morning, while Coetzee clocked a PB 23.79. Tandy finished sixth in his semi in 24.35 and missed out on the final.
Women’s 50m breaststroke: Tatjana Schoenmaker finished second in her heat, in 30.92, which was an African record, and shaved 0.52 seconds off her entry time. She qualified third fastest into the semi-finals.
Kaylene Corbett finished sixth in her heat in 32.51, for 17th overall.
Emile Visagie finished seventh in her heat, in 32.73, for 18th overall.
Semi-final: Schoenmaker was slightly off her African record swim from the morning, but she still clocked 31.01, which was fast enough to see her into Friday’s final.
Women’s 100m butterfly: Erin Gallagher finished third in her heat in 59.25, with Duné Coetzee seventh in the same race in 1:02.03. Gallagher qualified for the semi-finals, eighth fastest, while Coetzee finished 17th and missed out on the semis.
Semi-final: Gallagher produced a 59.04 which left her one place short of reaching the final, finishing ninth fastest.
Men’s 100m backstroke: Martin Binedell finished fourth in his heat in 56.37. That left him 12th fastest overall and qualified him for the semi-finals.
Calvyn Justus finished fourth in his heat in 55.69, which left in 10th fastest overall and qualified him for the semi-finals.
Semi-finals: In his semi-final Binedell finished seventh in 56.91 to miss out on the final, while Justus cut a bitterly disappointed figure as he clocked a personal best 55.25 to finish fifth in the first semi, but placed ninth, with the cut for the final being the top eight.
Men’s 200m breaststroke: Ayrton Sweeney finished fourth in his heat in 2:13.27, for ninth overall and missing the final.
Luan Grobbelaar finished sixth in his heat in 2:18.90 for 11th overall and missing the final.
Women’s 4x100m freestyle, Final: Team South Africa finished fifth in 3:46.04, in a race won by Australia who produced the first world record of these Games in winning gold in 3:309.05.