Neil Powell (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - There are eight different codes being represented by Team South Africa on Wednesday, August 10 (SA time listed).
13:00: Women’s road time trials, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio
What to expect: Despite looking decidedly down after her road race, Moolman-Pasio did Team SA proud with her 10th spot on Sunday, the best Olympic road performance by a SA woman. She didn’t start out as a top time trialist but this part of her game has come on in leaps and bounds in recent times. And with the hills of the Pontal course lying in wait, she could be up to put in yet another fine showing. This course, which still features dodgy corners and switchbacks (but thankfully no cobbles) will suit the lighter riders. In place of the cobbles there’s a narrow paved section and passing may be tricky. I have a gut feeling that Moolman-Pasio will definitely improve on her 10th spot tomorrow. Here’s hoping for a top five.
18:30 Individual dressage: Tanya Seymour
What to expect: This is South Africa’s first dressage rider at the Olympics and Seymour will be savouring the experience (hopefully her horse Ramoneur as well). Both have jetted in from Europe and should have acclimatised by now. First goal is to get through the grand prix round and into the next round, the grand prix special. And she knows that she’s going to have to be aiming at scores of 70%.
13:30: Women’s Pair, Semi-finals: Lee-Ann Persse and Kate Christowitz
What to expect: Persse and Christowitz had qualified for the semi-final by finishing second to New Zealand in their heat. South Africa have to finish in the first three of the six-boat race and they have stiff opposition with both Great Britain and the United States looking powerful in their progression to the semis. It could be that South Africa have to fend off Romania, Poland and Italy for that third qualifying spot.
13:50: Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls, Semi-finals: Kirsten McCann and Ursula Grobler
What to expect: McCann and Grobler are in the semis by virtue of winning their heat and they too need to finish in the first three to qualify for the final. They will have realistic hopes with China and New Zealand seemingly looking their strongest opposition.
14:20: Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls, Semi-finals: James Thompson and John Smith
What to expect: I’m excited by these two fine rowers, both gold medallists from the Four at London 2012. They looked impressive in getting the job done in their heat and won’t have anything to fear in this semi-final, which I’m expecting them to qualify comfortably from and then going on to do big things in the final.
14:30: Men’s Four, Semi-final: David Hunt, Jonathan Smith, Vincent Breet and Jake Green
What to expect: A much better performance in their repechage, which they won, has got them this far in the competition and they’ll leave nothing out there on the water in the hope of qualifying for the final. It won’t be easy, but they won’t die wondering.
15:00: (fight No 20). Men’s -90kg, elimination round: Zack Piontek v Camilo Tiago (Bra), elimination round.
What to expect: Piontek was crowned 2014 Commonwealth Games champion in this division in Glasgow, Scotland. But he will be the first to realise that the Olympics are a completely different kettle (make that a deep fryer!) of fish. All the former USSR countries come into the mix as do the Asian nations. In Tigo (already a three-time Olympian), he’ll be up against a man nine years his senior but the Pretoria powerhouse will still have to be at the top of his game and not have any weakness in his armour like latent injuries or the like.
16:30: Men’s Pool B: South Africa v Australia
What to expect: Neil Powell’s men whitewashed both Spain (24-0) and France (26-0) on the way to showing why they are so highly regarded as gold medal favourites. Australia, by contrast, were beaten by France and came from behind to beat Spain. Australia might well become the first team to score against South Africa at these Olympics, but I can’t see them winning the game.
21:30: Men’s Quarter-finals: Teams to be decided
From 18:15: Laser Men, Races 5 and 6: Stefano Marcia and 470 men (Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson)
What to expect: Marcia had a good opening first two races on Monday and said he was happy to have made a solid showing with 28th overall. On Tuesday he didn’t have the best of days but will be looking to bounce back. Meanwhile Jim and Hudson are making their second Olympic Games appearance after a last-minute beat to qualify in London. On that occasion they ended 26th of 27 boats. Since then though there’s been an awful amount of saltwater under their keel and they will be pushing for a top 10 finish this time round as action gets underway at the Escola Naval.
03:00 Thursday: Men’s First round, Group A: South Africa v Iraq
What to expect: There are all sorts of permutations really, with Denmark topping the group on four points, Iraq and Brazil on two and South Africa on one. No team is out of contention to be amongst the top two to qualify. What we do know is that South Africa have to win, which means they have to score a goal - something they haven’t done in 180 minutes (three hours) of play so far.