Five more medals for Team SA
Team South Africa added two more gold and three bronze medals to their tally on Day 8 of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Thursday, with athletics, bowls and wrestling providing the highlights.
This brings the total number of medals to 36, exceeding the haul at the 2010 Delhi Games by three.
Hurdler Cornel Fredericks went out hard from the blocks to lead on the bend ahead of world champion Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago.
“As I ran round the final bend I remembered my former coach from UK, Bruce Longden, telling me to 'stay tall and run fast' and that came into my mind.
“I just stayed tall and gave my everything,” said Fredericks, who had decided that this was his day and that he would capitalise on the Commonwealth Games season that is traditionally an easier one for the American continental athletes.
“Yesterday I told myself I needed a good lane draw so I ensured I won the semi,” added the 24-year-old, who ran his personal best of 48.42 in the Paris Diamond League.
“This season I have raced well against top athletes and I trained hard in the off-season. Today it paid off in the major championships.”
Fredericks clocked a 48.50, only 0.08 seconds off his best, to take the gold with Gordon scoring a season best of 48.75, and Bahama's Jeffrey Gibson third in a new national record time of 48.78.
Andre Olivier won the bronze medal in a tactical men's 800m final that saw his training partner, Nijel Amos, out-play world record-holder David Rudisha for gold in 1:45.18.
Rudisha looked to be controlling the race with teammate Cheruiyot Rotich, as they went into the final bend after a slow 52.71 first lap.
Olivier moved out wide for his Botswana training partner, Amos, as they came off the bend and chased down Rudisha.
“I wasn't wanting to get tangled with Nijel so moved wide to get space. Over the last 50m I just closed my eyes and went for the line, as I saw Nijel and Rudisha racing for gold,” said Olivier, who edged out Australian Jeff Riseley and Rotich as he dipped to the line in 1:46.03.
“We knew Rudisha would not take it out too quick around 5152 seconds, so we just had to get ourselves into a good position for the last 100 and just go for it.
“The goal since we started training in December was the Commonwealth Games. The coach was saying we want medals, medals, and it's been about medals at the Commonwealth Games since then,” added the 30-year-old from Potchefstroom.
Other track performances lacked lustre, with Victor “The Hulk” Hogan highlighting the Jekyll and Hyde nature of field athletics in the discus.
Hogan could not get the form or rhythm of his qualifying round 64.16, a distance that would have put him on top of the podium.
A relatively modest 63.63 saw Indian Vikas Shive Gowda earn gold, with Cypriot Apostolos Parellis taking the silver in 63.32.
Hogan had two no-throws and an off-form 56.42m, which eliminated him from the final at the first cut.
Akani Simbine qualified for the 200m final, where he finished fifth, behind a Jamaican clean sweep, in a personal best of 20.37.
The bowlers not only provided a gold and a bronze but also broke two all-time Commonwealth Games records, and set themselves up for potentially another two medals.
On Thursday morning, the Open Triples B6/7/8 Para team won a tough struggle for a 13-11 victory over New Zealand.
Despite the Silver Ferns fighting back to 12-11 in the penultimate end, the combination of Deon van der Vyver, Roger Hagerty and skip Derrick Lobban succeeded in their golden quest, which gave South Africa the highest number of bowls gold medals ever at a Commonwealth Games.
“It was a ding-dong battle from midway to the end,” said Hagerty.
“We were one up playing the last end and holding one. It was very tight to the death. We won by two. It was a cracking game.”
In the morning the ladies pairs of Colleen Piketh and Tracy-Lee Botha accounted for Wales 20-15, then won a hard-fought game against Jersey to put them in Friday's final against England.
“It's been fantastic. This morning we won the quarters against Wales, and now the semis against Jersey,” said Piketh who started the week with a bronze medal in the singles.
“Once Tracy-Lee changed her hand and stuck them close, it put them under pressure so they had to look for shots.
“The wind affected the shots, making it difficult, but we've made the final.”
The women's triples of skip Susan Nel, Santjie Steyn and Esmé Steyn were also in action, losing their morning match against Australia, but they came back in the play-off to beat Wales 23-14 to claim the bronze medal.
Wrestling provided the third bronze medal of the day when Aramando Hietbrink beat Kenyan Peter Omenda 5-0 in the repechage of the 86kg division.
The Benoni-based Hietbrink succumbed to Nigeria's Andrew Dick 4-0 in the semi.
Terry van Rensburg was also in line for a medal in the 65kg division, but lost his semi to Canada's Jevon Balfour, and then lost his bronze-medal match against Nigerian Sampson Clarkson 0-3.
It was a rough day at the office for cyclists Ashleigh Moolman and Heidi Dalton, who finished well below their rankings in 15th and 20th places in the time trial.
Favourite Linda Villumsen crossed the line in 42:25.46 to claim New Zealand's 600th medal in Commonwealth Games history.
Pooley clocked 42:31.49, with Australian Katrin Garfoot third a further 48.45 seconds adrift.
Neither Moolman, whose primary focus is Sunday's road race, nor Dalton, who has been ill and on antibiotics for the past two weeks, were really in it, dropping back through the rankings to finish in 45:58.07 and 48:22.03 respectively. - Sapa