To Russia with love – SA athletes rule

Anaso To Russia with love – SA athletes rule

The SA Universities Team made Mzansi proud with 13 medals by Friday. S’Busiso Mseleku and Mawande Mvumvu report.

Infighting between sports administrators should never be allowed to affect the future of athletes.

This was said yesterday by the SA Students Team chef de mission Nomsa Mahlangu, from Kazan, Russia, where the team had amassed 13 medals by Friday, with five more days to go.

“As administrators, we should not allow politics and our ­

infighting to affect our children,” said Mahlangu, an SA Football Association national executive committee member.

“Look at these kids now, 11 of the 13 medals have come from athletics, a code that nearly didn’t come here because of the fight between the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee and Athletics SA.”

She said most members of the 121-strong team should be used as the core of the team that will go to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.

Mahlangu was optimistic that South Africa could still add more medals from the rugby sevens, canoeing, swimming and shooting events before the games end on Wednesday.

Sensational sprinter Anaso Jobodwana, who came into the spotlight by coming second to Jamaican Usain Bolt in the 200m semifinal at the London Olympic Games last year, contributed two gold medals to the team this week.

The US-based sprinter won the 100m and 200m to contribute to the haul of six gold, three silver and four bronze medals.

The athletics contingent claimed five medals on Friday as the team achieved the target they had been set with five days to go.

The women’s coxless fours rowing team and Kirsten McCann were the first to register Team SA’s medals, with a silver and a gold, respectively, which they dedicated to ailing former president Nelson Mandela, who is in a Pretoria hospital.

Then the running team of Gladwin Mzazi (gold), Xolisane Zamkele (gold) and the well-known Stephen Mokoka (silver) added to the tally on Friday.

Jerry Motsau came third in the

1 500m with a time of 3:39.51, to claim a bronze medal.

The former Banyana Banyana captain-led women’s soccer team were beaten 4-1 by Mexico in the semifinal yesterday. They will now meet Brazil in the third-place play-off tomorrow, who were beated 1-0 by Great Britain in the second semi-final.

In the quarterfinals, the women’s team came back from two goals down to beat the feared Japan 5-4 on penalties after the game ended 3-all.

Mahlangu said they could not chose who the team faced in the loser’s final but added the team had more than outdone itself.

“I’m very proud because its the first time ever that we’ve made it to the knockout stages. It is a great achievemet for them,” Mahlangu said.

“The future of the game is feminine. We are going to places with women’s football. The women are continously flying the flag.”

McCann held off Russian Olga Arkadova by little more than four seconds to win gold in the A final of the women’s lightweight singles sculls, crossing the line in 8:10.62.

This was on the same day the women’s coxless fours team of Claire-Louise Bode, Kate Christowitz, Holly Norton and Catherine Stark bagged their silver meda.

They finished in 7:07.44, with Russia snatching the gold medal in 6:59.92.

“The first thing that came to my mind was Madiba and how we could make him proud,” said McCann, who also won gold in her specialist event at last year’s World University Rowing Championships at the same venue. “It’s not often you get to see the SA flag raised, so to show the world that South Africa is on top, and can compete at this level, is awesome.”

Jobodwana became the first man to win the short sprint double at the World Student Games since Italian Pietro Mennea at the 1975 edition in Rome.

He burst across the line in 20.00, finishing the 200m race 0.23 seconds clear of defending champion Rasheed Dwyer of Jamaica. While he was 0.11 seconds inside the 11-year-old South African record held by Morné Nagel, the time was recorded with a 2.4m/s tailwind and did not count for record purposes.


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