South Africa shone brightly at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia, as they finished in sixth position with a haul of 37 medals. It was a successful outing for a number of Varsity Sports stars who either cemented their names as the best in the world, or announced themselves on the global stage.
All around the country, South Africans celebrated as Team SA notched up 13 gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze medals – some expected, with the likes of Caster Semenya dominating her events, while others upset some of the world’s best to claim a spot on the podium.
Akani Simbine of Tuks won the men’s 100m in 10.3 seconds. It was the first time in 20 years a Caribbean country has not held the title of Commonwealth’s fastest man. He beat Jamaica’s Yohan Blake with a powerful finish to the race.
Luvo Manyonga continues to write his fairytale story, winning gold in the men’s long jump – a first Commonwealth Games long jump gold since 1950. His leap of 8.41 metres was a new games record. Ruswahl Samaai of UJ launched his way to a bronze medal to make it two from three for South Africa.
Caster Semenya was the star of Team SA. The SA flag bearer became only the third woman in history to claim Commonwealth Games gold medals for both the 800m and 1500m events. Even better, she set the new games record in the 800m, which is now 1:56.68
Henricho Bruintjies was ecstatic with his silver medal in the men’s 100m, also beating Yohan Blake and ensuring a South African one-two.
The men continued their fine form in the men’s 4X100m relay. They set a new South African record of 38.24 to claim silver. Emile Erasmus, Akani Simbine, Henricho Bruintjies and Anaso Jobodwana capped off a fine sprint performance from the men.
The Blitzboks, South African hockey teams and the SA Netball ladies unfortunately couldn’t add to the tally, but a number of Varsity Hockey and Varsity Netball stars enjoyed their first taste of Commonwealth Games.
Keenan Horne of Maties had the honour of captaining the men’s team in their final match and will captain Maties in the upcoming Varsity Hockey tournament.
As South Africa continue to rise up the world athletics ranks, Varsity Sports athletes are making up the spine of these talented teams. Keep an eye out for a number of the SA men’s hockey players in Varsity Hockey, beginning on 4 May.