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Sick Schoeman in disbelief after bronze

2016-08-18 20:41
Henri Schoeman (Getty)

Rio de Janeiro - In the build-up to the men's triathlon at Rio 2016 on Thursday, South Africans had pinned their hopes of a medal on Richard Murray. 

But in the end it was 24-year-old Henri Schoeman - brother of former Olympian Riaan Schoeman - who stunned the world to finish third and give Team South Africa its eighth medal of the Games. 

Murray, who had been recovering from a broken collar bone in the months leading up to the Olympics, finished fourth. 

It was a remarkable effort from Schoeman, who had flown under the radar in the days leading up to the race.

Schoeman confirmed afterwards that, just a week ago, he didn't know if he would be healthy enough to take part in the race as he was battling with a chest infection. 

As a result, he was unable to train. 

"A week ago I fell ill and sick and I've had a fever the whole week," Schoeman said.

"The doctor actually only gave me the all clear yesterday (Wednesday). I was happy just to be on the start line and to be a the Olympics was a dream come true."

It had not sunk in yet for Schoeman.

"There are no words to describe it. You can't beat the feeling of having a medal round your neck. I'm excited and proud, I've made Africa proud," he said.

"It's been a dream all my life. Maybe tomorrow when I wake up with a medal round my neck I'll probably believe it, but for now I'm just trying to soak up everything."

South Africa will now look to Sunette Viljoen for their next medal when she takes part in the women's javelin on Thursday night (Friday morning, SA time).

Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...

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