SA’s lesser-known OlympiansComment on this story
Johannesburg – While the country's medal hopes will rest heavily on athletes and swimmers, the competitors in fringe events on South Africa's Olympic team, led by the triathletes, will hope to spring a surprise in an effort to raise the profiles of their various sports back home.
Richard Murray laid down the marker on the eve of the London Games, bagging his maiden victory in the Triathlon World Series leg in Hamburg, Germany, on Saturday.
Murray outsprinted two-time world champion Javier Gomez of Spain to win by five seconds, making a statement as a serious contender for an Olympic medal.
A strong runner, Murray has performed consistently this season, finishing second and third at the World Series legs in Sydney and San Diego, and at one point earlier this year he was ranked first in the world.
Kate Roberts and Gillian Curr Sanders will represent South Africa in the women's triathlon race – an event which consists of a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run.
Roberts was a regular top-10 finisher on the international scene in 2011 but she has struggled to reproduce that form this season, with her best effort coming at the African Championships at the end of March where she finished third.
Since then she finished 46th and 22nd at the World Series legs in Sydney and San Diego respectively.
Sanders has been based in the UK for the last few years and has already raced on the Olympic route.
She won the continental championships in March but has had mixed results on the global circuit.
Her best performance was a fourth-place finish at the Triathlon World Cup in Ishigaki, and more recently she was fifth at the World Cup in Holten.
In the more competitive World Series races she finished 34th and 38th in San Diego and Madrid.
Meanwhile, Bridgitte Hartley, who set an unofficial world record last year in the K1 500m race, is considered a realistic medal hopeful in her specialist discipline. Tiffany Kruger, who will race in the K1 200m women event, is the only other canoeist in the team.
Siphiwe Lusizi (69kg) and Ayabonga Sonjica (56kg) are the only entrants in men's boxing, though neither are expected to challenge for medals.
There are six rowers, including Sizwe Ndlovu, the country's first black rower to qualify for the Games. He will be joined by Matthew Brittain, John Smith and James Thompson in the men's coxless fours.
Lee-Ann Persse and Naydene Smith will compete in the women's pairs.
Elsewhere, South Africa will be represented in a number of lesser known sporting disciplines.
Asenathi Jim and Roger Beresford Hudson will compete in sailing, while Michelle Claire Edwards, Dorian Lance James, Annari Viljoen and Willem Viljoen are set to play in the badminton tournament, though they will turn out only in the doubles categories.
Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt will be the first South Africans to compete in beach volleyball at the Games.
Karen Hultzer is the country's only representative in archery, while Alistair Davis (double trap shooting), Jean Greeff (weightlifting), Gideon Jacques van Zyl (judo) and Paul Hart (equestrian, eventing) are the only South Africans entered in their respective disciplines. – Sapa