29 July 2014
South Africa added four more golds to the country’s medals tally at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Monday as lawn bowls delivered a third title – and the country’s first black bowls medallist in an international competition.
The first of the gold medals came from the men’s trips team, lifting South Africa’s haul to three golds in lawn bowls. With a further bronze medal, the country’s bowlers have already improved on their performance in Delhi in 2010 and once again top the bowls medal standings.
On Monday, Bobby Donnelly, Prince Neluonde and Petros Breitenbach combined to defeat Northern Ireland 19-10 in the gold medal match to keep the title in South African hands. They had previously defeated New Zealand 19-17 and Australia 18- 14.
The win was especially important because of the role played by Neluonde. The first black person to represent South Africa at bowls, he is now the country’s first black bowls medallist in an international competition.
Formerly a green keeper at the Bryanston Sports Club in Johannesburg, Neluonde started playing the sport just four years ago.
In the pool, Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh was pushed all the way by young Englishman Adam Peaty in the 50 metres breaststroke final. It took a Commonwealth Games record of 26.76 seconds, not far off Van der Burgh’s world record of 26.67, to win the title, just two-hundredths-of-a-second ahead of Peaty.
Afterwards, Van der Burgh told the BCC the emergence of Peaty had invigorated him. “He’s giving the old man a chase for his money. I remember the days when I was young and he’s fired me up. I’ve been complacent in the last two years,” the South African star said.
Meanwhile, Olympic champion Chad le Clos confirmed his dominance of the butterfly when he added the 100 metres title to the 200 metres title he had already bagged.
He touched the wall in 51.29 seconds, comfortably ahead of second placed Joseph Schooling of Singapore.
“On the blocks, I thought ‘what would [Michael] Phelps think?’. But in the end all I try to do is win my races. This was the fastest time in the world this year,” Le Clos told Sascoc’s Gary Lemke afterwards.
The 22-year-old’s victory means he is the current Commonwealth Games title holder in both butterfly events, the current world champion in both events, and the Olympic champion in the 200 metres. He placed second in the 100 metres in the 2012 London Olympics.
50m freestyle final qualifiers
Both Roland Schoeman and Brad Tandy qualified for the final of the 50 metre freestyle. Schoeman placed third in his semi-final heat in a time of 22.36 seconds, while Tandy was fourth in 22.34.
Myles Brown booked his place in the final of the 1 500 metres freestyle, stopping the clock in 15:10.87 to qualify fifth fastest, while Darren Murray just missed the final of the 200 metres backstroke by one place.
On the track, Paralympian Fanie van der Merwe was a winner in para-competition in athletics, capturing gold in the T37 100 metres in 11.65 seconds, with Charl du Toit taking the silver medal.
“What an awesome honour to compete here with my SA mates and in front of such a great crowd,” Van der Merwe told Mark Etheridge of Sascoc.
“I had a great start, but then a little bit of a stumble as I got close to the line, but it was still an amazing experience, my first time at the Commonwealth Games.”
Sub-10 second man Simon Magakwe struggled to seventh place in the semi-finals of the 100 metres, while Akani Simbine finished fourth in his semi-final. Neither advanced to the final.
Orazio Cremona narrowly missed out on a medal in the shot put, placing fourth with a best distance of 20.13.
Sadly, Willem Coertzen, who was in the running for a medal in the decathlon, pulled out of the high jump in the evening because of an ankle injury.
Lean Simon, contesting the discus final in the F42/33 category, placed fifth with an African record throw of 46.39 metres.
In shooting, Esmari van Reenan added a silver medal to the South African medal haul when she finished second to New Zealand’s Sally Johnston in the women’s 50 metre rifle prone competition.
In hockey competition, world champions Australia overwhelmed the South African men’s team, winning 6-0.
The South African women pushed highly regarded New Zealand – ranked fourth in the world, seven places above South Africa – all the way before going down 1-2.