JOHANNESBURG – The South African team yesterday departed for the third edition of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires between October 6 and 18 hopeful of improving on their previous effort.
The team returned from the 2014 Games in Nanjing, China with only one medal courtesy of Gezelle Magerman’s golden performance in the 400m hurdles.
The country’s medal hopes could once again fall on a one-lap hurdler with Gontse Morake rated among the top athletes in her specialist event.
But her chances could be thwarted thanks to an administrative blunder, with Morake entered for the triple jump instead of the 400m hurdles.
Although she is equally talented in the hop-skip-and-jump she stands a better chance in the running event.
The Prestige College pupil's 400m hurdles under-18 record of 57.81 seconds ranks her fourth in the world, while her personal best jump of 13.10m ranks her 14th.
Morake is confident she would return with the gold medal in the 400m hurdles should she get a lane.
“They’ve told me that I would be there for the triple jump but I had initially planned to do the 400m hurdles,” Morake said.
“I asked whether there was an opportunity for me to do the 400m hurdles. I will know once I see confirmation in black and white but I’ve brought both my spikes. I would really love to go for that gold.”
South Africa produced an 11-medal harvest at the inaugural 2010 Games in Singapore where Chad le Clos was the star performer contributing four individual medals to the tally.
Diocesan College (Bishops) matric learner and rising swimming star Michael Houlie was named the South African team’s flag bearer.
Houlie, who was a finalist in the 50m and 100m breaststroke at the 2017 World Junior Championships, said he was honoured to carry the flag.
“I’ve trained really hard and put in a lot of effort. So the main goal is to get into a final and once I am there everyone has a chance of winning gold,” Houlie said.@Ockertde