Amateur wrestler Martin Erasmus bagged South Africa’s 12th gold medal of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games beating India’s Mausam Khatri in their 97kg freestyle bout yesterday.
Erasmus was in a different class in his heavyweight fight with Khatri scoring the first point before the South African completely rolled him over, winning with a 12-2 margin on technical superiority.
He became the first South African since the 1958 Empire Games to win a wrestling gold medal at the quadrennial showpiece.
“I didn’t expect the gold medal, I took it match for match, and then succeeded so I thank the Lord for that,” Erasmus said.
“He (Khatri) was tough and I think he had a knee injury but that is not my problem.”
The South African has been on fire throughout his campaign, and won all his matches leading up to the final on technical superiority.
His build-up to the final included a 12-1 victory over Johannesburg-born Nicolaas Verreynne in the quarter-final.
Erasmus achieved what team-mate Hanru Botha could not do the day before when he lost his 74kg gold-medal match against former world champion Sushil Kumar of India.
Kumar won his third consecutive title, relegating the South African to the silver medal with a 10-0 win on technical superiority.
Kleinjan Combrinck also came close to a wrestling medal but missed out in the 57kg bronze-medal bout against Nigeria’s Ebikwenimo Welson.
Chasing a second straight women’s pairs gold medal, bowls duo Nicolene Neal and Colleen Piketh had to be content with the silver this time after losing by the narrowest of margins, 15-14 to Malaysia.
South Africa’s bowlers finished the competition in sixth place with a total of five medals - three silvers and two bronzes - with gold eluding them this time around.
Both bowlers were looking to upgrade their medals from earlier in the week after Piketh won the singles bronze medal while Neal earned silver with the women’s four.
The duo grabbed the early advantage, opening up a 7-0 lead after three ends. But the Malaysian pair of Emma Firyana Saroji and Siti Zalina Ahmad bounced back with aplomb.
“We started off well, but then the green seemed to change pace wise, and that is maybe when they started to put it in a bit closer,” Piketh said.
“We had a chance in the end, but they won and congratulations to them.”
The Malaysians fought their way back from a 13-5 deficit to beat South Africa by one shot in the 18-end encounter.
“Bowls is very unpredictable, so you can never be over-confident either,” Piketh said. “You just have to carry on doing what you have been doing in past.”
South Africa’s hockey teams would like to forget these Games as quickly as possible with the men’s side finishing in their worst position at six editions while the women dropped two places since Glasgow 2014.
The men’s side lost to Wales 3-2 in their classification match, finishing the tournament in 10th place after winning just one of five matches.
The Proteas women finished in sixth place, suffering a 3-1 defeat to Canada in their final outing at the Games. They lost their opening match 2-0 to England, and drew 1-1 with Malaysia. They bounced back with a 2-0 victory against Wales but lost 1-0 to India in their last pool match.
Rio Olympic diver Julia Vincent narrowly missed out on a podium place in the women’s 1m springboard final.
She finished in fourth place with a scored of 247.40 with the bronze-medal winner scoring 252.95.
The Saturday Star