Olympics 2012

SA media hails Van der Burgh

2012-07-30 12:49
Cameron van der Burgh (File)

Johannesburg - Newspapers celebrated South Africa's first Olympics gold medal since 2004 by giving 100m breaststroke champion Cameron van der Burgh front-page splash treatment Monday.

"Golden joy for SA" was the main headline in the Johannesburg Star, "SA gets first gold" said the Sowetan and "Van der Burgh sets new world record, wins first gold medal for SA" declared Business Day.

Other dailies missed out as the final in London was staged after their deadlines, as did the main evening television news bulletins of public broadcaster SABC and independent etv.

There was immense pressure on Van der Burgh, wrote The Star, as the country looked for redemption of sorts from the nadir of the 2008 Beijing Games when they returned with just one silver medal.

The Sowetan said he torpedoed a field that was the who's who of breaststroke swimming - his victims included Australian Brenton Rickard, the previous world record holder, and 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima of Japan.

Van der Burgh, a 24-year-old finance student from Pretoria Univeristy, led from start to finish to win the final in 58.46 seconds and smash the world record for the second time in as many days.

South African Olympic chief Gideon Sam has promised the country 12 medals from the 2012 Games - a wildly optimistic boast according to leading sports writers.

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