28 December 2005
The fastest swimmer, the world cricketer of the year, the surf ski world champions, golfing victories across the globe, an unbeaten run in 20 one-day cricket internationals … we take a look at some of the memorable performances produced by South Africa’s sportsmen and sportswomen in 2005.
Roland Schoeman: world’s fastest swimmer
South African sprint ace Roland Schoeman was in devastating form at the FINA World Championships in Montreal, picking up two gold medals and a silver.
Schoeman captured the 50 metres butterfly title in a world record 22.96 seconds, and added gold in the 50 metres freestyle, touching in 21.69 – the second fastest time in history, behind only the 21.64 record of Russian great Alexander Popov.
Schoeman then added a silver medal in the 100 metres freestyle, in a time of 48.28.
- Roland Schoeman: no one faster
Jacques Kallis: World Player of the Year 2005
Jacques Kallis, together with England’s Andrew Flintoff, was recognised as World Player of the Year by the International Cricket Council. He was also named World Test Player of the Year.
In addition, Kallis was selected for both the World Eleven one-day and test teams.
In 15 tests played during the year, Kallis scored 1 497 runs, including six centuries, at the amazing average of 71.28. He also claimed 20 wickets.
In one-day cricket, Kallis scored 697 runs at 41 and picked up eight wickets.
He is currently ranked the top test batsman in world cricket.
SA u-19 and u-21 rugby teams, Springboks
It was a great year for South Africa’s under-19 and under-21 rugby teams, with both being crowned world champions.
The under-19s laid claim to the title in Durban in April, downing arch-rivals New Zealand 20-15 in the final. In June, the under-21s defeated Australia 24-20 in the final to add to SA’s run of success.
2005 was an excellent year for South African rugby overall, with the Springboks also enjoying a good season. They were edged by New Zealand for the Tri-Nations title, but they did hand the All Blacks their only loss of the year, beating them 22-16 in Cape Town, before suffering a tough 31-27 defeat in Dunedin.
The Boks also bested Australia three times in succession, and beat Argentina, France, Wales, Scotland, and Uruguay.
- SA u-19 world champs 2005
- All Blacks edge brave Springboks
- Boks edge All Blacks in thriller
Kaizer Chiefs: PSL champions
In a spectacular climax to South Africa’s Premier Soccer League season, Kaizer Chiefs came from behind to sneak ahead of Orlando Pirates right at the death, successfully defending the PSL title they had annexed the previous season.
At one stage of the season, the Amakhosi trailed the Buccaneers by 11 points, but in the final round of games they downed Supersport United 1-0, while Pirates drew one-all with Bush Bucks, leaving Chiefs the league winners by just two points.
It was a great farewell for coach Ted Dumitru, who won his fourth PSL title, and his second in succession with Chiefs.
The Proteas: 20 unbeaten one-dayers
From 30 January to 19 November, the Proteas were unbeaten in one-day internationals.
They thrashed England five matches to nil with one tie, beat Zimbabwe 3-0, drilled the West Indies 5-0, and crushed New Zealand 6-0.
After beating India in the first ODI in Hyderabad, the Proteas finally came unstuck in the second match of the series. It brought the curtain down on a sustained run of success seen only once before, achieved by Australia.
The South African surf-ski team
After controversially losing out to Australia in the Surf Ski World Cup in 2004, South Africa’s team dominated their southern hemisphere rivals both in Australia and in Tahiti in 2005.
Led by the brilliant Chalupsky brothers, Herman and Oscar, and by the multi-talented Daryl Bartho, South Africa proved itself significantly superior to the Aussies this time round.
In Perth, South Africa claimed five of the first six places, with Herman Chalupsky taking the win. In Tahiti, it was Bartho who ruled the roost, recording a superb win in very trying conditions.
- SA blitzes first WC Surf Ski race
Ryk Neethling: FINA short course king
Ryk Neethling dominated the 2005 FINA World Cup Swimming Series, winning 21 times in eight meetings, which was good for over half-a-million rand in prize money.
His season started off with two firsts, three seconds and one third in Durban, but it rapidly picked up momentum in Melbourne when he won five individual titles.
In Berlin, he cracked the world record in the 100 metres individual medley, clocking 52.11. In Moscow, he lowered his mark to 52.01. In New York, he then obliterated that record, lowering it to a sensational 51.52.
Later in the year, at the FINA World Championships in Montreal, Neethling made it onto the podium twice, claiming bronze medals in the 100 and 200 metres freestyle.
South Africa’s golf stars
Led by Retief Goosen, Ernie Els and Tim Clark, South Africa’s golfers continued their fine form of 2004 into 2005.
Els, despite spending time on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery, claimed three wins in European/Asian Tour events. He also won just his second time out after returning to action late in the year, capturing the Dunhill Championship by three shots.
Goosen won the Linde German Masters, The International, the Volkswagen Masters and the SAA Open for victories in Europe, the US, Asia and South Africa. He also outduelled Tiger Woods in the Presidents Cup.
Tim Clark recorded wins at the SA Airways Open and in the Barclays Scottish Open, which was his first victory outside of South Africa. His consistent form saw him finish 2005 at number 20 in the world rankings.
- So hot! The Goose is cooking
- Goose wins wire-to-wire in China
- Goose takes The International
- Clark takes first win in Europe
- Ernie Els in record-breaking win
- Els takes Qatar Masters 2005
- Ernie’s Dubai Desert three-peat
The Cheetahs: Currie Cup champs
Only once before in their history had the Cheetahs won the Currie Cup, the symbol of supremacy in South African domestic rugby. They faced a daunting task to win it for a second time, 29 years after their 1996 triumph – facing three-time defending champions the Blue Bulls at their fortress, Loftus Versfeld.
Earlier in the season, the power-packed Bulls had beaten the Cheetahs by four points and by 10 points, but the final belonged to the men from Bloemfontein as they triumphed 29-25 in a thrilling climax to the season, sending captain Naka Drotske into a satisfying retirement.
Alexa Lombard and Donia Kamstra: silver at the World Marathon Canoe Championships
Alexa Lombard and Donia Kamstra produced a stunning performance to claim the silver medal in the women’s K2 race at the World Marathon Championships on the Swan River in Perth.
It was a great reward for Lombard, who finished sixth in the women’s K1 race in 2004, but opted to sit out the K1 event in favour of the K2 race in 2005.
The pair had dominated the South African domestic scene, and battled Hungary’s Renata Csay and Kornelia Szonda all the way for the world title before settling for silver. The result wasn’t a disappointment, though, with Lombard calling it “the most fantastic race of my life”.
- World silver for SA women
The Durban Clipper
With the 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race including a leg from Salvador in Brazil to Durban, the city-sponsored Durban Clipper had hoped to capture the honours by arriving in her home port first. It wasn’t to be, however, with Craig Millar and crew having to settle for eighth place in the 10-yacht fleet.
However, on the next leg, from Durban to Fremantle, Australia, Millar and his crew led most of the way before edging out the hard-charging Victoria Clipper by just four nautical miles.
Clipper Ventures Plc chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnson described the leg as a “real landmark . Our amateur crews are heading into the Southern Ocean for the first time, at one of the most difficult times of the year. The conditions they will face would test professional crews to the limit.”
Millar recognised the backing he and his crew had received when he said afterwards: “I would like to give a big thanks to all our supporters back home. You guys have been great.”
The Bulls: Super 12 semi-finalists
The Bulls enjoyed a strong run in the 2005 Super 12, reaching the semi-finals after ending third in the points standings. They did it the hard way, however.
Starting off with three defeats on the trot, the team from Pretoria dug an early hole for itself, but victory over the Hurricanes in Wellington finally saw them notch a win. Unfortunately, the Bulls suffered a 42-12 pounding at the hands of the Waratahs in their next outing to fall to a record of 1-4.
However, with the return home came a return of form. They rattled off six wins on the trot, including an impressive 38-24 win over the Blues and a 75-14 shellacking of the Stormers.
Unfortunately, their challenge ended a week later with a loss to the Waratahs in the semi-finals in Sydney.