Tuks hope to add to SA medal haul

Image courtesy of Stock.xchng

Image courtesy of Stock.xchng

After contributing half of the medals at the 2012 London Olympics, the High Performance Centre (HPC) at the University of Pretoria could add richly to South Africa’s medal haul at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this month.

Pretoria is slowly but surely becoming a sporting mecca with 31 of the 155 athletes in the South African team linked to the HPC and TuksSport.

These athletes have realistic chances of claiming silverware as they all rank among the top five in the Commonwealth in their respective codes, varying from swimming to amateur wrestling.

Speaking at a send-off breakfast in the capital city, HPC chief executive Tobie Sutcliffe said the Commonwealth Games would gauge where the athletes were in their preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“Four years ago, the University of Pretoria certainly came back with a handful of medals and we are looking to our athletes to do the same from our athletes this year,” Sutcliffe said.

“This year is very much a stepping stone towards next year’s qualifications for the Olympic Games in 2016.”

Among their sponsored athletes representing South Africa at the Games, is swimming legend Roland Schoeman and men’s 400m hurdles record holder LJ van Zyl.

Since making his debut at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Schoeman has won 10 medals at the multi-sport showpiece.

Van Zyl will be looking for his fourth Commonwealth medal after winning gold in his specialist event, bronze in the 4x400m relay in Melbourne in 2006 and bronze in the 400m hurdles in Delhi four years ago.

He will battle it out with training partner Cornel Fredericks, one of the form one-lap hurdlers in the world this season.

Women’s 400m hurdles ace Wenda Nel is hoping to capitalise on her scintillating form this season when she lines up at her maiden Games.

In early June, Nel ran a new personal best time of 54.82 seconds in her specialist event at a World Challenge track and field series in Marrakech to climb to third place in the SA all-time 400m hurdles rankings.

South Africa’s queen of the pool Karin Prinsloo is another of the country’s medal prospects after experiencing her best season to date.

She started the season with a bang by setting three national records at the Aquatic Super Series in Australia at the beginning of the year, before she did so again in Europe in June.

London Olympics judoka Jacques van Zyl is tipped for a medal in Glasgow and showed his potential at the recent African Championships in Mauritius where he claimed the gold medal.

TuksSport athletes in SA team: Athletics: Akani Simbine, LJ van Zyl, Cornel Fredericks, Orazio Cremona, Fredriech Pretorius, Wenda Nel, Hendrico Bruintjies, Swimming: Roland Schoeman, Caydon Muller, Darren Murray, Karin Prinsloo, Marlies Ross.

Gymnastics: Aimee van Rooyen, Julene van Rooyen.

Judo: Daniel le Grange, Jacques van Zyl, Zack Piontek, Tobie Snyman, Sinothando Mva.

Netball: Chrisna Bootha, Erin Burger, Lenize Potgieter, Melissa Myburgh.

Triathlon: Wian Sullwald, Kate Roberts.

Amateur wrestling: Gerald Meyer, Zumicke Geringer.









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