Harmse loses out on gold
Chris Harmse (Gallo Images)
Maputo - Veteran hammer throw specialist Chris Harmse fell 10 centimetres short of winning his fourth All Africa Games title here on Wednesday.
The 37-year-old Harmse was well on his way to reaching another record victory with a best throw of 74.66m when Egypt's Mostafa Hamed spoilt his party with a 74.76m heave.
The South African, however, was gracious in defeat and acknowledged that the Egyptian deserved the gold medal.
"I did the best I could. You have to give the sport what it wants, and if you don't, the sport won't give you what you want," Harmse said.
Harmse said these Games would be his last international competition but he would still compete at domestic meetings in South Africa.
To add some irony to the evening, Harmse reached the B-qualifying distance for the Olympics.
The thrower from Sasolburg refuses, for religious reasons, to compete on Sundays, which is traditionally set aside for the Olympic hammer throw event.
Discus thrower Elizna Naude won the SA athletics team's eighth medal of the Games as she clinched silver with a throw of 53.63m.
Kazai Kragbe of Ivory Coast claimed the gold medal with a best heave of 56.56m, while Togo's Alifatou Djibril finished third with a distance of 46.46m.
Earlier in the day, the SA men's beach volleyball team won gold in the final of their event, while the women's team bagged silver.
It was beach volleyball's inaugural appearance at the continental showpiece.
The duo of Grant Goldschmidt and Freedom Chiya were in an unforgiving mood in the men's final as they trounced Angola's Sequerra Eden and Sequerra Norcia in straight sets.
The South Africans won the first set 21-9 after 11 minutes of play but were made to work hard in the second set, eventually winning 21-17.
Goldschmidt and Chiya, both based in Cape Town, said they hoped the win would give their chances of qualifying for next year's London Olympic Games a boost.
They won the first two rounds of the Olympic qualifiers and were left with two more rounds to ensure themselves a place in the squad for London.
The women's pairing of Randy Williams and Palesa Sekhonyana came up short in their final against Mauritius' Natacha Rigobert and Elodie Li Yuk Lo.
The South Africans lost 2-0 (21-13, 21-12) in the final.
Meanwhile, in the tennis competition, Chanel Simmonds advanced to Thursday's women's semi-final after Magy Aziz of Egypt conceded the match due to illness.
The second member of the SA women's tennis team, Natasha Fourouclas, was knocked out in the quarte-rfinals after going down 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 to Egyptian Mayar Sherif.