Kirsten McCann and Ursula Grobler (©Christiaan Kotze/SASPA)
Cape Town - A list of South Africans in competition at the Olympic Games on Friday, August 12 (SA times given):
15:26 and 15:46, men’s 800m heats - Rynardt van Rensburg and Jacob Rozani
What to expect: If ever Rynardt van Rensburg needed to pinch himself to realise he’s at the Olympics now’s his moment. Luck of the draw finds him drawn in the same heat as Olympic champion David Rudisha (heat three of seven). First three in each heat and next fastest go through to semis and the Bloemfontein runner is going to have to be at his sharpest from the word go. Six of the nine starters have gone quicker than him this season. In the later heat SA champion Rozani also has a heavyweight to contend with in Botswana neighbour Nijel Amos but on paper at least looks to stand more of a chance.
16:10, women’s 10 000m final - Dominique Scott-Efurd
What to expect: A few months back she was burning it up on the US collegiate circuit. Now the young Capetonian takes on the cream of global distance running… in just her second race as a professional athlete. Diamond League action in Monaco last month was her first outing. A field of 37 will toe the line and it will be the classiest field she’s ever run with. With the race being run at almost midday and temperatures expected to be around 19 deg anything close to a personal best will surely make her happy, as will the invaluable experience of just being there.
19:30, men’s 20km walk final - Lebogang Shange, Wayne Snyman
What to expect: These two have literally made great strides in helping put SA walking back on the map. The former is national and African Games champion and the latter has made huge improvements in the last year. Neither will be disgraced at all in this line-up and Shange in particular might well find himself at the cutting edge in Pontal, which saw road and time trial cycling earlier in the Games.
02:21, men’s 400m heats - Wayde van Niekerk
What to expect: Cometh the man cometh the hour. Van Niekerk will be looking for a measured introduction into his Olympic career. A Commonwealth silver medallist and World Championships gold medallist, he goes in heat three of seven and with a season’s best time, 0.66 seconds quicker than anyone in his heat, expect nothing more than a canter and anything among the first three across the line.
02:20, men’s long jump qualifying round - Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai and Stefan Brits
What to expect: Manyonga and Samaai go in Group A and while Manyonga, the bouncy Boland youngster is a precocious talent it’s going to be serious stuff to nail the 8.15m standard to make the final (or be among the 12 best jumpers in qualifying). Samaai has his 8.38 best to fall back on but both must remember that long jumping qualifying is tricky. Nail it and sit back! US based Brits is in Group B and with a season’s best of 8.22 should have enough to move forward on Friday.
03:40, women’s 100m, Round One, heats - Alyssa Conley, Carina Horn
What to expect: The South African champion (Conley) and the joint national record-holder (Horn) are in action and while their heat times weren’t known late Thursday night due to preliminary heat action they will both want to just sail through into the next round before the real challenges arise.
20:30 - Women's 3m springboard preliminaries: Julia Vincent
12:30 - Men’s second round: Jaco van Zyl, level par, is in the first group of the day
15:47 - Men’s second round: Brandon Stone (first round 75, 12 shots off the pace)
15:32 - Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls, Final: Kirsten McCann and Ursula Grobler
What to expect: The South Africans won their semi-final in 7:19.09, coming through with a sustained finish to hold off New Zealand and China. The Netherlands look the favourites going into the race, while Canada and Ireland will also be competitive, but McCann and Grobler will be in the shake-up.
15:44 - Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls, Final: James Thompson and John Smith
What to expect: Thompson and Smith were part of the Four that won gold in 2012 and are experienced, hardened campaigners. They have been impressive all campaign and qualified for the final by virtue of winning their heat, starting conservatively and then pouring on the pressure after halfway and going past Norway at the 1 500m mark. They are big medal candidates, with France, United States and Ireland also in the shake-up.
16:04 - Women’s Pair, Final: Lee-Ann Persse and Kate Christowitz
What to expect: Persse and Christowitz finished third behind Great Britain and the United States in their semi-final but it was by some distance the quicker of the two semis. They ended third fastest on the day and were always in the top three after a fast start. They carry form and confidence into the final.
16:24 - Men’s Heavyweight Four, final, David Hunt, Jonathan Smith, Vincent Breet and Jake Green
What to expect: After a disappointing first race, Paul Jackson’s team have reached the final in a good manner, winning their repechage and then finishing second in their semi in 6:15.22 to qualify for the final.
Men’s Laser and 470 classes, Stefano Marcia and Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson (Laser off at 13:15 for his first race) and 470 at 13:15.
Both classes are in action twice again, after Marcia had a break on Thursday after staring earlier in the week.
What to expect: Marcia who has had an incredible battle to even get to Rio, freely admitted on social media that he struggled after day one but he knows how to dig deep and whatever happens in the next day or two he will gain invaluable experience. Jim and Hudson have also been there and done that in terms of hardship and know what they have to do.
19:16 - Men’s 1 500m Freestyle Heats: Matthew Meyer
What to expect: This will be a learning experience for the 18-year-old in his debut Olympics. There are 20 swimmers who have entry times of under 15 minutes and the South African comes in with a 15:09.58. The times in these heats won’t be that fast, but competition is steep. He will feel as though he’s swimming on his own in lane one, and that could be a good thing.
20:48 - Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay, Heats: South Africa
What to expect: Sixteen countries take to the water in the heats and South Africa are in the second of the two heats. The official squad hasn’t been announced but it should have enough big guns in it to qualify for the final.