The national swimming contingent closed out their campaign in style on Tuesday, raking in two more medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, while Caster Semenya kept things ticking on the athletics track with a spectacular victory in the women’s 1 500m final.
Semenya brushed off a delayed start due to a technical problem, sitting in the pack and kicking hard around the final bend as she charged to gold in 4:00.71, taking 1.10 seconds off Zola Budd’s 34-year-old SA record.
“At the moment we’re doing well in training, which is why we’ve been able to do this,” said Semenya, a former 800m specialist who was set to target the two-lap title later in the week.
“Now we can read splits, we can manage pace and run for a long time at one pace, so the coach (Samuel Sepeng) is doing well.”
Earlier on the track, Antonio Alkana took fifth place in the men’s 110m hurdles final in 13.49.
Elsewhere, in the pool, sprinter Brad Tandy snatched the silver medal in the men’s 50m freestyle.
Tandy was well of the pace of winner Ben Proud, touching the wall 0.46 behind the Englishman in 21.81, but he held off Australian bronze medallist Cameron McEvoy who clocked 21.92.
The SA men’s 4x100m medley relay quartet of Calvyn Justus, Cameron van der Burgh, Chad le Cos and Tandy took the bottom spot on the podium, leaving themselves too much to do in the closing stages but holding on to finish third in 3:34.79 Brent Szurdoki took fourth position in the 1 500m in 15:28.60, though he was more than half a minute off the pace for a step on the podium, and the national women’s 4x100m medley relay team of Nathania van Niekerk, Caylene Corbett, Erin Gallagher and Emma Chelius settled for seventh place in 4:12.02.
In other codes, shooters Petrus Haasbroek and Jacobus du Toit finished fourth in the Queen’s prize pairs final, while Ricardo Fitzpatrick ended seventh in the heavyweight men’s powerlifting contest.
Boxer Sinethemba Blom lost to Jessie Lartey of Ghana in the men’s 64kg quarter-finals, missing out on a guaranteed medal, with the losing semifinalists earning bronze in the ring.
Singles player Prakash Vijayanath, along with the mixed doubles pairings of Cameron Coetzer and Michelle Butler-Emmet, as well as Vijayanath and Johanita Scholtz, all won their round of 64 badminton matches, progressing to the round of 32 contests on Wednesday.
In table tennis, Theo Cogill defeated Temitope Ogunsanya of Nigeria 3-0 in his opening match of the group stages in the TT6-10 singles division.
The Proteas netball team secured a consolation 92-28 victory over Fiji in their penultimate pool match, after seeing a semifinal spot slip away last week, and the SA women’s hockey side lost 1-0 to India in their last pool match, also missing out on a place in the medal playoffs.
Team SA were lying fifth in the medals table with a total of 21 (nine gold, six silver and six bronze) after six days of competition.