Commonwealth Games

SA swimmers head home

2010-10-11 14:04
Chad le Clos (AFP)
New Delhi - Team South Africa’s first group of athletes headed for home from the Commonwealth Games on Monday, laying down the challenge to those left to build on the platform laid in the first week.

All 15 of the country’s swimmers checked out of the athletes village, some of them headed off for more competitive action in the World Cup events. They did so with the accolades still ringing in their ears.

Of the 15, only Mark Randall left New Delhi without a medal, but he finished fourth in the men’s 1 500m and although desperately disappointed, his time will come.

Graham Hill, head coach of the swimmers, was extremely happy. “This shows where we are as we start the build-up to London 2012. There is a new generation coming through, and there is a whole group of even younger swimmers queuing behind them so I am really excited about the future,” he said.

Westville Boys’ High student, Chad le Clos, will have spent Monday night in Johannesburg and then he flies to Durban on Tuesday before reporting for duty on Wednesday.

“The rugby guys have been giving me stick about being a swimmer, so I’m going to dangle these in front of them,” he said, referring to a medal haul that comprised 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley gold, and 4x200m freestyle bronze, along with a bronze for helping the 4x100m freestyle squad into the final, where they took bronze.

Cameron van der Burgh was amongst those headed for World Cup action and the impression the 22-year-old made on Team South Africa was one of the reasons the team did so well. Not only did he carry the flag but he also won double breaststroke gold.

“Right now he’s the most powerful swimmer in the world,” former Olympic gold medallist Ryk Neethling, now Van der Burgh’s manager, said. “The focus is now squarely on London 2012.

The track and field squad numbered only nine, but by Monday they had already won two gold medals – Chris Harmse in the hammer and Sunette Viljoen in the javelin – and Justine Robbeson, LJ van Zyl and Sam Radebe had all won medals, with David Roos finishing fourth in the T46 100 metres. And on Monday night there was high expectation that Elizna Naude would also be in the medals in the women’s discus. 

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