Caster Semenya will be looking for the 800-1500m double gold at the Commonwealth Games in April. Photo: Nic Bothma/EPA

JOHANNESBURG – Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya has been named South Africa's flagbearer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia next month.

Semenya will be making her debut at the quadrennial showpiece where she will looking for the 800-1500m double gold.

“It is quite special, I feel honoured to lead the team onto the field,” Semenya said at a farewell function in Johannesburg on Monday night.

“Being flagbearer comes with responsibility and it would hopefully serve as motivation to the young ones and it shows anything is possible through hard work and dedication.”

The bulk of the team will leave for Australia on Tuesday while the swimmers and the men's hockey team are already Down Under.

Since South Africa’s return to international sport, the country has sent teams to six Commonwealth Games where they have finished fifth on the medals table on three occasions (Kuala Lumpur, 1998; Melbourne, 2006 and New Delhi, 2010). 

South African slipped down the table at the previous edition in Glasgow 2014 finishing seventh place with a total medal count of 40 (13 gold, 10 silver and 17 bronze).

SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Gideon Sam said he was confident the team would return to fifth place in the medal standings.

“It is a great relief for us as Sascoc and a sports movement to be here and tick off this box,” Sam said.

“Let us be ready to compete and deliver the team according to our mandate. It is a team that is going to compete, it is not a team to make up the numbers.”


IOL Sport