SA add to medals tally
Maputo - The South Africa’s athletics team grabbed seven medals on the final day of the track and field at the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, on Thursday.
The track and field athletes have now won a total of 15 medals since the athletics events began on Sunday, taking the South African contingent's medals tally to 144 with two days to go.
Of these, 62 are gold, 47 silver and 35 bronze.
World junior champion Luvo Manyonga made a classy showing in the men’s long jump, winning with a best jump of 8.02m.
Manyonga started off slowly with a first attempt of 7.59m, which he followed up with two no jumps.
However, he was only warming up and clinched the gold medal with his fifth jump.
Ignisious Gaisah, of Ghana, finished in second place with 7.86m.
The 20-year-old Manyonga said he was happy with his transition from junior athletics to the seniors.
So far, he has reached the finals of the IAAF World Champions in Daegu, South Korea and won gold at the All Africa Games.
Manyonga said he was confident going into next year’s London Olympic Games.
"I am going for gold. You don’t compete to lose," he said, smiling from ear-to-ear.
Earlier, South African women’s 400m hurdles champion Wenda Theron won the silver medal in her specialist event in a time of 57.13 seconds.
Theron was in the lead until the final bend, but her knee clipped the eighth hurdle.
She was pipped at the post by Nigeria’s Ajoke Odumosu in 56.26. Kou Luogoun, of Liberia, took the bronze in 57.34.
The 23-year-old Theron was excited about winning a medal at her first All Africa Games.
"It feels good. It was my goal to go home with a medal and I’m quite satisfied with the result," said Theron.
In the men’s javelin, Bernard Crous finished in second place with a best throw of 72.68m.
Kenya’s Julius Yego won the gold with a distance of 78.13m.
Hardus Pienaar just missed out on a podium finish with a throw of 70.16m to finish in fourth place behind Friday Osanyade of Nigeria who took the bronze with 71.01m.
South African women’s shot put champion Veronica Abrahamse, competing at her fifth All Africa Games, also added a silver medal to South Africa’s medal haul.
Cameroon's Auriel Dogmo won the gold with a best throw of 16.03m.
After winning her four previous continental Games, Abrahamse had to be content with second with a throw of 15.89m, compatriot Sonia Smuts taking the bronze with a distance of 15.29m.
The 31-year-old made her dbut at the Games in Harare in 1995 as a 15-year-old.
South Africa’s paralympic athletes also had a glittering day.
Shot-putter Michael Louwrens won the F57 category with a throw of 13.23m.
The last medal of the evening came from sprinter Fanie van der Merwe in the T37 200m, where he won the gold medal in a time of 23.11.