15 October 2010
Team South Africa finished fifth in the overall medals standings at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, capturing 33 medals in total, including 12 golds, with the country’s swimmers leading the way.
“Team South Africa’s performance has inspired millions of our citizens, most especially our youth, to endeavour to become champions,” South African President Jacob Zuma said after the closing of the Games on Thursday.
“We call upon all South Africans to give our team a rousing welcome on their return. Well done. Halala!”
Australia topped the medals table, as they did four years ago on home soil, winning 74 gold medals (177 in total), followed by hosts India with 38 golds (101 in total), England with 37 golds (142 in total), and Canada with 26 golds (75 in total).
Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore and Nigeria finished close behind South Africa. Malaysia and Nigeria both won 35 medals in total – two more than South Africa, but with fewer golds, placing them below South Africa in the overall standings.
South Africa’s medals tally was slightly down compared to Melbourne four years ago, when the country won 12 golds, 13 silvers, and 13 bronzes for a total of 38 and the same fifth place overall.
This could be attributed to the fact that Team South Africa was considerably smaller in Delhi than it was Down Under.
In addition, a number of athletes considered strong medal prospects – long jumper Khotso Mokoena, and 800 metres world champions Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Caster Semenya – missed the Games through injury.
Swimming was clearly South Africa’s strength in New Delhi. Three swimmers won at least two gold medals and 16 of Team South Africa’s medals were won in the pool.
Natalie du Toit captured three titles in the women’s S9 category, winning the 50 and 100 metres freestyle and the 100 metres butterfly. Cameron van der Burgh shone with the 50 and 100 metres double in the breaststroke, and Chad le Clos emerged as a star.
The teenager from Durban raced to victory in 200 metres butterfly and the 4 by 100 metres individual medley, which he won in a Commonwealth Games record time. He also won a silver medal in the 4 by 100 medley relay and a bronze medal in the 4 by 200 freestyle.
Like le Clos, Van der Burgh added a silver medal to his tally in the medley relay. The success of South Africa in the relays was testament to the strength of the country’s swimmers, but a generally-held perception among leading swimming coaches was that the country could have won more medals had a bigger team been sent to India.
Certainly, based on the times recorded in Delhi, and the times some of those who missed out have previously swum, there was validity in the coaches’ argument.
Further, there is a belief among the coaches that the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) needs to invest even more in the country’s swimmers ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games; it appears that South Africa’s best medal chances will be in the pool, viewed in the context of the country’s performances in India.
Eleven Commonwealth Games medals
Roland Schoeman, although not an individual champion, won a silver medal in the 50 metres freestyle and a further two bronze medals to take his Commonwealth Games career haul to 11 medals.
It was also encouraging to see South Africans excelling in long-distance events: Wendy Trott won a silver medal in the women’s 800 freestyle and Heerden Herman picked up silver in the men’s 1 500 freestyle.
Bowls, a non-Olympic sport, continued to be one of South Africa’s strengths, with three gold medals being won.
Tracy-Lee Botha, Susan Nel, and Susanna Steyn secured victory for the women’s trips, while their male counterparts – Gideon Vermeulen, Johan Du Plessis, and Wayne Perry – were also crowned champions. Shaun Addinall and Gerry Baker combined to win the men’s pairs with a stunning showing in the final.
The other sport in which South Africa stood out was wrestling, which was a welcome boost after it wasn’t held in Melbourne in 2006.
A total of five medals were won by South Africans, including two silvers by Richard Addinall in the men’s 74-kilogram Greco-Roman and freestyle divisions.
There were further silvers for Bella-Lufa Hughes (96 kilograms Greco-Roman) and Heinrich Barnes (66 kilograms freestyle). Dean van Zyl added a bronze medal in the 84 kilograms freestyle competition.
Archery, like wrestling, produced smiles for Team South Africa. The men’s compound team picked up a bronze medal after narrowly missing out on competing for gold.
Later, Septimus Cilliers claimed another bronze in the individual compound competition, defeating New Zealand’s Shaun Teasdale, ranked number one in the Commonwealth heading into Delhi, for the medal.
Throwers won three of South Africa’s five medals in athletics, but it was a disappointingly small team that took part in track and field.
Chris Harmse, the dominant force in men’s hammer throwing in South Africa for well over a decade, won gold, having twice previously finished with a bronze medal, in 1998 and 2006.
Sunette Viljoen lived up to expectations when she threw a Commonwealth record 62.34 metres to win the women’s javelin, and Justine Robbeson added further lustre to South Africa’s performance in the event by claiming the bronze medal.
LJ van Zyl put in a mighty effort to defend the 400 metres hurdles he had won in Melbourne, but had to settle for second and silver.
In para-athletics, Samkelo Radebe raced to silver in the T 46 100 metres.
Medals were won in two other sports: gymnast Jennifer Khwela picked up a silver in the women’s vault, and the Sevens rugby team won bronze after edging England 17-14 in the playoff for third.
M E D A L S
- Chad le Clos (men’s 200m butterfly)
- Chad le Clos (400m individual medley)
- Natalie du Toit (women’s S9 50m freestyle)
- Natalie du Toit (S9 100m freestyle)
- Natalie du Toit (S9 100m butterfly)
- Cameron van der Burgh (men’s 100m breaststroke)
- Cameron van der Burgh (50m breaststroke)
- Chris Harmse (mens hammer)
- Sunette Viljoen (womens javelin)
- Women’s trips (Tracy-Lee Botha, Susan Nel, Susanna Steyn)
- Men’s trips (Gideon Vermeulen, Johan Du Plessis, Wayne Perry)
- Men’s pairs (Shaun Addinall, Gerry Baker)
- Richard Addinall (men’s 74kg, Greco-Roman)
- Richard Addinall (men’s 74kg, freestyle)
- Bella-Lufa Hughes (96kg Greco-Roman)
- Heinrich Barnes (66kg freestyle)
- Wendy Trott (women’s 800m freestyle)
- Roland Schoeman (men’s 50m freestyle)
- Heerden Herman (men’s 1500m freestyle)
- 4x100m medley (Charl Crous, Cameron van der Burgh, Chad le Clos, Gideon Louw)
- Jennifer Khwela (vault)
- Samkelo Radebe (men’s 100m)
- LJ van Zyl (men’s 400m hurdles)
- Mens 4x100m freestyle (Graeme Moore, Gideon Louw, Roland Schoeman, Darian Townsend)
- Men’s 4x200m freestyle (Jean Basson, Darien Townsend, Jasper Venter, Chad Le Clos)
- Roland Schoeman (50m butterfly)
- Riaan Schoeman (4×100 individual medley)
- Gideon Louw (men’s 50m freestyle)
- Dean van Zyl (84kg freestyle)
- Men’s Team Compound (Septimus Cilliers, Nico Benade, Kobus de Wet)
- Septimus Cilliers (Individual compound)
- Justine Robbeson (women’s javelin)
Australia 74 55 48 177
India 38 27 38 101
England 37 59 46 142
Canada 26 17 32 75
South Africa 12 11 10 33
Kenya 12 11 9 32
Malaysia 12 10 13 35
Singapore 11 11 9 31
Nigeria 11 10 14 35
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