Coach Ian Campbell-McGeachy said the team were gutted after South Africa’s rugby sevens outfit were unable to add to the country’s record medal haul at the World Student Games in Kazan, Russia.
The South African men trailed 12-7 at the break in the bronze medal play-off, and Great Britain pulled further clear in the second half to secure a 31-14 victory.
Hosts Russia beat France 29-19 in the gold medal match.
“It’s very disappointing, obviously, because everyone put a lot of hard work and effort into this,” said Campbell-McGeachy today.
“But it’s a part of sport, so we’ll have to deal with this.
“We lift our heads and we’re still proud of our country and the way we played.”
Team South Africa scooped a record 14 medals, surpassing their goal of 13, as well as their previous best count of nine medals at the 2009 World Student Games in Belgrade.
The team pocketed seven gold, three silver and five bronze medals, with the athletics contingent contributing 11 (five gold, two silver and four bronze) of the total count.
Long-distance runner Stephen Mokoka garnered three medals, winning the men’s 10 000m final in 28:45.97 to secure a career clean sweep after previously grabbing silver and bronze over 25 laps at the biennial Games.
Mokoka went on to finish second in the half-marathon road race, after being edged out in a sprint finish by countryman Gladwin Mzazi, who won gold in 1:03.37. Along with Xolisani Zamkele, who was seventh overall, the South African trio also won the team competition.
Sprinter Anaso Jobodwana continued his rapid improvement, securing the first 100m and 200m men’s sprint double at the Games in 38 years.
The budding speedster, who turns 21 at the end of this month, matched his personal best of 10.10 in the shortest track event, missing the national record by 0.04 seconds for the second time this season.
In the 200m final, he crossed the finish line in 20.00, and while he was 0.11 seconds inside the 11-year-old South African best held by Morné Nagel, the time was recorded with a 2.4m/s tailwind and did not count for record purposes.
Robert Oosthuizen bagged silver in the men’s javelin throw, Maryke Oberholzer claimed bronze in the women’s discus throw and Jerry Motsau was third in the men’s 1 500m final.
The men’s (Pieter Conradie, Jacques de Swardt, PC Beneke and Wayde van Niekerk) and women’s (Sonja van der Merwe, Arista Nienaber, Justine Palframan and Anneri Ebersohn) 4×400 relay teams also secured bronze.
Elsewhere, rower Kirsten McCann held off Russian Olga Arkadova by a little more than four seconds to win gold in the A final of the women’s lightweight singles sculls, finishing in 8:10.62.
The women’s coxless fours quartet (Claire-Louise Bode, Kate Christowitz, Holly Norton and Catherine Stark) grabbed silver.
Giulio Zorzi was the country’s only medallist in the swimming pool, finishing 0.09 seconds clear of Italian Andrea Toniato to snatch gold in the men’s 50m breaststroke final in 27.44.
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