Athens - After all the drama surrounding Hendrick Mokganyetsi's baton dropping antics in the 4x400m relay, the remainder of South Africa's exploits at the Olympic Games on Friday also left much to be desired.
When a mercurial performance was required to lift the spirits on a forgettable day in Athens for SA's athletes, no-one put up their hands. The burden now lies with Hestrie Cloete in the high jump and SA's 800m pair Hezekiel Sepeng and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi to add to the country's meagre medal haul on Saturday evening.
For the men's hockey on Friday it was a close encounter of the penalty kind, but not close enough to win.
In a classification match to determine ninth and tenth place the British and South African sides matched each other 1-1 through to full-time and both sessions of extra time.
The penalties commenced with tit for tat scoring. SA goalkeeper David Staniforth then saved Niall Stott's shot and when Greg Nicol put the next in the net, it looked as though South Africa were through.
It was not to be. A miss by Wayne Denne followed by a Simon Mason save on Craig Fulton's shot, swung the score to the advantage of the Brits, with the South Africans having to settle for 10th place in the tournament. It was the same placing as in Atlanta in 1996 and was particularly disappointing considering the impressive displays during the tournament.
Captain Craig Jackson summed it up: "This was a 50-50 game and I think our defeat had much to do with the midday heat. I'm really proud of the guys for the games we played over the past two weeks."
Ace goal poacher Greg Nicol. meanwhile announced his retirement from international hockey at the conclusion of the match.
Guatemalan Gabriel Sagastume, dominated his three bout boxing match over SA's Duncan Mahlangu in the under 68kg Taekwondo competition to progress through to the semi-final rounds.
Mahlangu was outclassed 11 points to 7.
Zhengyu Li from China beat South African Shaun Williams in the 55kg freestyle wrestling competition on Friday evening.
Williams was first to score in his second pool B bout of the day, which was much more evenly matched than the morning session. Li dominated the first minute of the second period to draw the scores before gaining the necessary points in extended time to leave Williams on the bottom of his pool.
Earlier in the day Williams lost his bout against Bulgarian Velikov Radoslav when it was stopped for exceeding the ten-point superiority limit.
Stephanie Sandler continued to find herself out of her depth in the third and fourth rotations of the all round individual rhythmic gymnastic competition held on Friday evening.
With a rather disappointing overnight total of 37,075 points from the hoop and ball rotations, the 16-year-old Cape based gymnast had been expected to fair better in clubs and ribbons, with the latter her preferred apparatus.
By the end of the third rotation she had only added an additional 171 points from the ribbon.
As with the previous rotations it has been the technical value points that have let her down, with her highest score in this aspect being 43 points after three rotations. - Sapa