Johannesburg - Olympic gold medallists James Thompson and John Smith realised a life-long dream after claiming first place in the lightweight men’s double sculls at the World Rowing Championships in the Netherlands in a new world's best time.
The time of 6:05.36 they set was the best result in history at the global event by a South African crew, with Shaun Keeling and Vincent Breet also adding to the country’s successes by claiming the bronze medal in the men’s pair.
Thompson and Smith further etched their names in the annals of South African sports history as the country's first world champions, only two years after they famously won gold at the London Olympic Games as members of the lightweight fours with Sizwe Ndlovu and Matt Brittain.
Brittain, who has since retired due to a persistent back injury, hailed the performance by his friends and former team-mates.
"It is the first time that South Africa got two medals at the world championships...we've got medals across different boat classes at a world cup but it is a big deal to have two crews in the medals at the world championships," said Brittain, who watched the race from home.
"It was a very close race and you could see at all those points there was less than a second break in the field, when the race is so close and all you need is a small improvement to go through to a gold.The South African duo was up against a quality field which included defending world champions Norway and pre-race favourites France.