Caster Semenya (Getty Images)
Johannesburg - Athletics South Africa (ASA) have written a new chapter at this year’s edition of the Olympic Games by finishing fifth (fifth) overall on the medal table of the IAAF’s Rio 2016 athletics standings out of 207 participating countries.
South Africa’s two golds and two silver medals in athletics, have put her ahead of powerhouses Great Britain and Germany, who finished sixth (sixth) and seventh (seventh) respectively in the IAAF Medal Table
The Performance of athletics has contributed in Team South Africa finishing 30th at the Rio 2016 Medal Standings.
The previous benchmark for ASA was the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia where ASA won 3 medals with 10 athletes (including the medallists) reaching the finals.
With athletics SA quartet of World Champion Wayde van Niekerk 400m Men (gold), Caster Semenya 800 Women (gold), Sunette Viljoen Javelin Throw Women (silver) and Luvo Manyonga Long Jump Men (silver) bringing the total tally to four medals, the 2016 Olympic Games is now the new benchmark for the Rainbow Nation going forward.
South Africa has participated in seven (7) post-apartheid Olympic Games starting from 1992 in Barcelona, with her best medals of three coming in the 2000 Olympics where Hestrie Cloete brought silver in High Jump Women, Llewellyn Herbert a bronze in 400m Men Hurdles and Frans Kruger also bronze in Discus Men. In those games, the Rainbow Nation had nine (9) finalists overall.
There was a slump however after Sydney with two medals in 2004, a lone medal in 2008 and another sole decoration in 2012, until turning it around with this edition, where we have had seven athletes reaching the final in their respective events.
“This is wonderful! What we have achieved is the result of the hard work that has been put up by everyone in the build-up to Rio,” explained Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.
“The IAAF ranking allows participating athletics federations to get an IAAF rating of their performance during an Olympic Games. In particular, we are proud of the excellent 2016 ASA calendar which has received praise from many athletes for its superb quality as it allowed them high level competition in the year of the Olympics.
“This was also compounded by great competition offered by the CAA 20th African Senior Championships in Durban in June which was the last major Track and Field event for athletes on African soil before the Olympics.
“On behalf of the ASA board, I congratulate the dedication of our athletes, their coaches, technical officials and all the various local organising committees whose backroom work throughout the ASA season, contributed to what we are celebrating today as a national federation. We thank you all for your cooperation,” said Skhosana.