JOHANNESBURG – The South African swimming team continued to dominate the pool, adding another 12 medals (six gold, three silver and three bronze) and two Championship records to their tally on the second day of the swimming programme at the All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo on Monday night.
And gymnastics also came to the party with nine medals of their own (three of them gold) on the outskirts of this sprawling city.
With a fast and golden championship record time of 51.24 seconds, Olympian Chad le Clos scooped the 100-metre butterfly title ahead of teammate Nico Meyer, who grabbed the bronze medal in 55.26. The silver medal in the event went to Egypt’s Omar Eissa in 53.54.
In the 50m breaststroke, it was a fight to the finish between Cameron van der Burgh and Egypt’s Yossif Elkamash.
Van der Burgh edged out the Egyptian, winning the race in a phenomenal new Championship Record time of 27.18 to Elkamash’s 28.10, a time difference of only 0.92, while Tunisia’s Wassim Elloumi took the bronze in 28.62.
Alaric Basson ended in sixth place with a time of 28.98.
Van der Burgh was pleased with his performance.
“I was very relaxed and as I’ve competed in many international events lately so was calm and happy with my performance tonight,” said Van der Burgh.
In the 400m individual medley, KZN’s Ayrton Sweeney won his first gold medal of the competition in a fast 4:21.83, ahead of Angola’s Pedro Pinotes in 4:23.12 and Egypt’s Ahmed Hamdy in 4:23.87. Edward Johannisen finished 5th in 4:58.74.
“The last 100m were very intense and I was under pressure but just glad to make it and win gold,” Sweeney said.
Karin Prinsloo struck gold in the 200m freestyle, walking away with the title in 2:00.14, while Limpopo’s Marlies Ross won the silver in 2:02.61. The bronze was claimed by Algeria’s Chebaraka Majda in 2:02.63.
It was gold and silver for South Africa in the 200m breaststroke. Pretoria’s Tatjana Schoenmaker, a flag bearer for Team SA at the African Youth Games in Botswana last year, led from start to finish winning with a time of 2:28.84, while team-mate Kelly Gunnell took home the silver in 2:31.52. The bronze went to Namibia’s Daniela Lindermeier in 2:34.23.
In the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay, Le Clos, Clayton Jimmie, Ross and Prinsloo raced ahead of the pack to claim the gold with a time of 3:31.56 to Egypt’s 3:32.52 and Algeria’s 3:40.93. The race was particularly exciting as Prinsloo was up against an Egyptian male swimmer for her two-length stint but Le Clos and Co had given her enough of a lead to see her through.
“It was great to have taken part here and help win gold medals for Team South Africa,” said Le Clos.
Myles Brown added a bronze medal to his tally when he concluded the 800m freestyle in 7:59.57, behind Egypt’s Ahmed Akram and Marwan Elkamash in 7:55.36 and 7:59.54 respectively. Brent Szurdoki finished fourth in 8:07.18.
In the 50m butterfly, Vanessa Mohr and Jessica Ashley Cooper won the silver and bronze, clocking 26.31 and 27.02 respectively. The gold went to Egypt’s Farida Osman in 26.31.
Back to the gymnastics and Kirsten Beckett, who won the team’s first gold medal of these 11th African Games when she won the all-around competition, continued her golden surge with gold on the beam with team-mate Angela Maguire right behind her with silver.
The men’s aerobics gymnastics also came to the party with Wilson Mafona winning silver in the individual men. then he teamed up with Dominique Mann for silver in the Mixed Pairs while the two first mentioned then teamed up with Terence Ledwaba for gold in the trio as well as team gold
Mann and Mafona both got silver in the individual category and the two bronze medals went to Siphamandla Ngcobo (vault) and Tiaan Grobler on parallel bars.
The gymnastics code has now wrapped up their competition in Congo and will head home on Wednesday.