Brandon Stone and Gary Player (Getty)
Rio de Janeiro - A list of South Africans in competition at the Olympic Games on Thursday, August 10 (SA times given):
13:52: Men’s Strokeplay, First round: Brandon Stone
14:25: Men’s Strokeplay, First round: Jaco van Zyl
What to expect: Stone becomes the first South African golfing Olympian when he tees off in a group that includes Rudolfo Cazaubon (Mexico) and Bernd Wiesberger (Austria). Three threeballs later Van Zyl stands on the teebox in a group that includes Mikko Ilonen (Finland) and David Hearn (Canada). At last we’re talking about golf and who is playing in Rio, rather than the Zika virus and who is not.
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.
15:44: Men’s Pair final: Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling
What to expect: Eric Murray and Hamish Bond haven’t been beaten in nine years and it’s unlikely the New Zealanders are going to give up the gold medal here. But, there are six boats in the final and you’ve got to be in it to win it. South Africa are in lane one and while New Zealand are huge favourites, Brittain and Keeling will focus on their own race. Great Britain and Australia are also obvious medal candidates.
20:00: Men’s semi-finals: South Africa v Great Britain
Midnight: Men’s final
What to expect: South Africa got back on track after a sloppy display against Australia in their final pool match. They met the Australians in the quarter-final later on the day and this time lightning didn’t strike twice and Neil Powell’s men find themselves as favourites to beat Great Britain and reach the final. A gold medal is a realistic expectation.
18:14: Men’s 50m Freestyle, heat 7: Doug Erasmus
18.18: Men’s 50m Freestyle, heat 9: Brad Tandy
What to expect: This is where the speed merchants come out to play, all big men who turn the water into a white-water rapid zone. Anything can happen – and usually does. In the seventh of 11 heats, Erasmus draws lane seven where he comes in with an entry time of 22.26. Two heats later Tandy dives off the lane six block and his entry time is 21.87.
19:28: Men’s 100m butterfly, heat 5: Chad le Clos
04:34 Fri or 04:42 Fri: Men’s 100m butterfly, semi-final: Chad le Clos
What to expect: Le Clos will still be hurting by his fourth-place finish in the 200m butterfly where Michael Phelps made amends for London 2012 and picked up his 20th Olympic gold medal. Le Clos should come back strongly from that setback and he is second favourite at the bookies - the same bookies who made Phelps favourite, and Le Clos only fourth favourite, for the 200m. Look for Le Clos to win his heat and also qualify comfortably later in the evening for the final.
02:23 Friday): Men’s singles group play stage - Group N: Jacob Maliekal v Wan Ho Son (Kor)
What to expect: China-based Maliekal has made no bones about the fact that he’s in Rio to cause an upset... he’ll have to as both other players in his group (Ukraine’s Artem Pochtarev is the other) are ranked higher than him. Good thing for badminton players at these Games is that the Rio-Sentro Pavilion is less than a five-minute walk from the Athletes’ Village. Hopefully this knowledge will mean that Team SA will come out and support him.
470 Class, race three 18:15 followed by race four seven races later.
What to expect: The three South Africans in action so far will be looking to up their game as the 470 class moves into its second day while Stefano Marcia gets a welcome breather to regroup before Friday’s resumption of battle.