Sevens

Senatla relieved Hougaard got his medal

2016-09-15 18:29
Seabelo Senatla (SASCOC)

Cape Town - Seabelo Senatla had a bittersweet time at the Rio Olympics in August. 

The main attacking threat in the Blitzboks set-up throughout the tournament, Senatla was injured in the quarter-finals against Australia. 

His wrist strain meant that he had to sit out the semi-finals as well as the bronze medal match on the final day of competition. 

IOC regulations meant that he was not given a bronze medal - that honour going instead to his replacement, Francois Hougaard. 

It was a devastating moment for a man who has been so instrumental to the Blitzboks cause since 2013. 

Hougaard offered his medal to Senatla immediately after the ceremony, but the 23-year-old speedster was having none of it. 

As it turns out, Hougaard was not taking 'no' for an answer, and he insisted that his medal went to Senatla. 

Eventually the IOC came to its senses and Hougaard was given a bronze medal too. 

"I felt a little better when Hougi got a medal as well. It was a very nice gesture on his part. Now we both have medals," Senatla told Sport24 on Thursday just as he was about to board a ferry to Robben Island, where he was due to play in a Shoprite Checkers-sponsored friendly touch rugby game in aid of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Looking back at the Rio experience, Senatla says he can now appreciate just what it meant.

"I was a little bit disappointed I didn’t get to play the playoffs. But, looking back at it, I realised how much of an experience it was and how privileged we were to be in a position to go there. The memories we made there are priceless," he said.

"People say ‘sorry about the bronze’ but for us, it’s something that we’re happy about and grateful to have.

"There are a lot of teams that don’t have a medal."

Senatla has confirmed that he will be turning his focus to XV-man rugby in the hope of earning a Springbok call-up.

Read more on:    blitzboks  |  olympics 2016  |  seabelo senatla  |  rugby
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