7 AUGUST 2016
Van der Burgh opens Team SA’s medal count
Cameron van der Burgh put Team South Africa on the medals table, like he did in London four years ago, and this time it didn’t matter that it was a silver that he won.
Van der Burgh pulled out all the stops in the final of the men’s 100m breaststroke at the Olympic stadium, producing the second fastest swim of his life – 58.69sec – which saw him chase home Adam Peaty, the British wonderkid who sped to his second world record in three swims, this time a 57.13.
‘I can’t say I’m disappointed,’ said Van der Burgh, the gold medallist from four years ago. ‘The Olympics is such a big stage and I’m getting goosebumps all over again knowing that I’m going to be walking out there for the medals ceremony again and they’re going to play Chariots of Fire again. ‘Coming into the final, I knew I didn’t have a 57-second in me; I have a few issue with my stroke and I’m not connecting properly with the kick and pull but I also knew that if Adam made some mistakes I’d be right there. He didn’t and well done to him, it was an incredible swim by him. But silver is a nice colour too and I’m super proud to add it to my collection. People don’t remember you by the world records that you’ve broken – as you can see here they are getting broken all the time – but they remember you on the medals you’ve won.’
Moolman-Pasio grabs 10th in women’s road race
By Mark Etheridge
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio raced to the best ever finish by a South African women’s road cyclist at the Olympics as she ended 10th on Sunday. After hitting the front in the latter stages and ensuring the rainbow nation’s women’s cyclists will inspire another generation she failed to kick on the last grueling climb and had to watch as Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen covered the 136.9 kilometres quickest in 3hr 51min 27sec.
That, after her and silver medallist Emman Johansson of Sweden and Italy’s Elissa Longo Borghini had broken American Mara Abbot’s heart by catching her within 150m of the line on Copacabana beach and leaving her empty-handed.
Abbot in turn had been given a second chance at gold when Van der Breggen’s countrywoman Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) had blown her chances in a breakneck crash at speed inside the final 15km. Van Vleuten looked to have the gold medal on a plate after an awe-inspiring injection of pace before she crashed out like a plate at a traditional Greek restaurant.
Moolman-Pasio ended up 1min 14sec off the pace and fellow South African An-Li
Kachelhoffer was 38th, 10:02 off the pace. Said Moolman-Pasio afterwards: ‘It was a tough day out there but I did my absolute best. In hindsight it would have been a lot better had I had more teammates today as I got isolated in some spot and had to work that much harder than if I had more protection, but An-Li gave it her all.
How Team SA fared on Sunday
Strong winds at the Lagoa stadium led to the cancellation of the rowing events on Sunday. Four Team South African boats had been scheduled for action – the Women’s Pair, Lightweight Women’s Sculls, Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls and the Men’s Four. Three other codes were represented. Here is how they fared.
(Times are Rio local and in brackets is SA time.)
Men’s 200m Freestyle (Heat 5): Chad le Clos and Myles Brown both qualified for the semi-finals in third and 13th fastest overall Gary Lemke says: Chad le Clos stuck his hand up as a potential medallist when he powered his way to a new personal best 1min 45.89sec. His previous PB had been 1:46.10 at the 2015 World Championships. The national record is the 1:45.67 set by Jean Basson at the 2009 World Championships. Le Clos got off to a blazing start and reacted fastest off the blocks (0.66) and reached 50m under world record pace. Stretching out to a body length clear the South African looked comfortable as he led at halfway (50.66), maintained a good lead at 150m (1:18.34) before being chased down by Yang Sun heading into the wall. The Chinese swimmer impressed with a 26.40 last 50m to win ahead of Le Clos who had already done all the hard work and could turn off the engines. Brown, who broke the SA 400m freestyle record on Saturday, sat in Le Clos’ slipstream in the lane outside him for much of the race before finishing fifth in 1:46.78 and booking a place in the evening’s semi-finals.
Fastest qualifiers: 1 Yang Sun (China) 1:45.75, 2 Paul Biedermann (Ger) 1:45.78, 3 Chad le Clos (RSA) 1:45.89 PB, 4 Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:45.95, 13 Myles Brown (RSA) 1:46.78
Quotable quote: ‘I’m happy. It was hard but I wanted to go out hard and be at the front. We’ll see tonight. It’s a very big race tonight. I tightened up in the last 25 but it was the heats, I knew it was going to be hard. I’m not a natural freestyler but that was not bad for a fly guy.’ – Le Clos
Men’s 100m Backstroke (Heat 4): Christopher Reid qualified for the semi-finals after he finished fifth in his heat in 53.68 and 12th overall. Gary Lemke says: Christopher Reid had qualified for Rio with a time of 53.12 and took off in lane six in the fourth of five heats. He was second slowest to react (0.66), but reached the turn in 25.82, in fourth spot. The first five swimmers all went under 54 seconds. The 20-year-old Port Elizabeth-raised but now USA based was competing in his first Olympics and in honour of his father, who passed away from cancer, and whose dying wish had been to see his son perform in Rio. A semi-final in his first Games is a significant achievement for Reid.
Fastest qualifiers: 1 Camille Lacourt (France) 52.96, 2 Jiaya Xu (China) 53.01, 3 Mitchell Larkin (Aus) 53.04, 12 Christopher Reid (RSA) 53.68
Men’s 200m Freestyle, semi-finals: Myles Brown finished sixth in his race in 1:46.57, going quicker than he had in the heats. It wasn’t enough to see him qualify for the final – he placed 12th overall – but he can be happy with the improvement. Gary Lemke says: Chad le Clos, after another lightning start as he had done in the heats, led through the first 50m in 23.91 – ‘whew, that quick’ he said afterwards – but eventually had to settle for fifth in 1:45.94, but he qualified for the final, seventh overall. Le Clos freely admits that he ‘loves to race’ and this probably cost him – along with inexperience in the 200m freestyle – inside the last 25m of the semi-final. He wants to win every race he gets into and turns it into a dogfight if he has to. Don’t write him off ahead of the final; he’s unlikely to win but could win a bronze. At the back of his mind will be the fact there’s 30 minutes between the butterfly semi-final and the freestyle final.
Fastest qualifiers (into final): 1 Yang Sun (Japan) 1:44.63, 2 Kasuke Hagino (Japan) 1:45.45, 3 Conor Dwyer (USA) 1:45.55, 7 Chad le Clos (RSA) 1:45.94, 12 Myles Brown (RSA) 1:46.57
Men’s 100m breaststroke final: Cameron van der Burgh fought all the way and won the race for silver behind Britain’s Adam Peaty, who broke the world record for the second time in two swims with a 57.13 effort. Van der Burgh timed 58.69, with America’s Cody Miller third in 58.87.
Men’s Group A: South Africa vs Denmark
The Under-23 men displayed a great performance but unfortunately they lost 1 -0 to Denmark.